Modern slavery and worst forms of child labour in South Africa: case of the former homeland areas.

by A Obi

Institution: University of Fort hare
Degree: MA
Year: 0
Keywords: Human rights – child labour – slavery – modern-day slavery – agriculture – poverty – logistic regression.
Record ID: 1433213
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10353/d1016119


Despite a progressive constitution lauded as one of the best and most forward-looking in the world, with an advanced Bill of Rights, instances of human rights violations have been detected at all levels of the South African society. The most disturbing revelations have been associated with situations in many farming communities in South Africa. On the basis of a comprehensive nationwide study initiated in June 2001 and documented in 2003, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) confirmed widespread human rights violations on South African farms. Through the efforts of the South African Human Rights Commission, many of these violations have been brought to the attention of the authorities and there are already numerous actions being taken to contain and possibly eliminate them. Among these is the Child Labour Programme of Action which was adopted in 2003 by the large number of government departments that constitute the stakeholders, particularly those that have responsibility for labour, education, provincial and local government, water services, justice, policing, prosecution, and social development. However, the SAHRC study had limited coverage due to constraints of time and funding and did not pay adequate attention to the former independent homelands. In addition to this significant shortcoming, recent international experience reveals other forms of violations that may not be immediately obvious and therefore go undetected for a very long time. Among these, the International Labour Organization (ILO), together with various non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other bodies have drawn attention to existence of what are termed “worst forms of child labour”. The latter involves a wide range of abuses to which under-age individuals are subjected against their will and often exposed to hazards that may leave them permanently excluded from formal educational and economic opportunities. The fact that national definitions differ complicates the situation. As a result, systematic investigation is needed to see to what extent local practices compare with international norms and standards. Similarly, the fact that the former independent homelands were not adequately covered in such an important study that aimed to inform policy on the optimal direction of the transformation process also raises serious questions that must be addressed. This mini-dissertation documents evidence based on a rapid appraisal of farm and non-farm environments in two polar regions of the province, namely the Port St John’s Municipality in the Oliver Tambo District Municipality of the former Transkei homeland and Alice in the Nkonkobe Municipality of the former Ciskei homeland. Descriptive and content analysis methodologies were employed to analyze the data obtained from interviews of employers of labour, the labourers themselves, as well as community members and “bystanders” who had opinions about the insertion of children into the labour market. Correlational analysis and logistic regression were performed to draw inferences about…