Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza says there are sufficient laws and legislations in South Africa to protect the rights of children.
Didiza was participating in a panel discussion at the 5th Global Conference on Eliminating Child Labour currently underway in Durban.
She says however compliance and lack of access to information remain a problem.
Didiza says supporting smallholder farmers with inputs and mechanisation could reduce the need for child labour in the sector.
She says, “It’s important not to see child labour as the problem of smallholder farmers, you’ll find it in commercial farms for instance and that will express itself during harvesting time. Seasonal work where you’ll have to deal with a particular season in terms of the commodity.”
“If I were to make an example, if were to use citrus, just now, citrus is in the harvesting period, maize, so you work within a particular time frame where you get the thing out of the farm into the market, and that where sometimes child labour is prevalent,” Didiza adds.
Addressing delegates during the fifth Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the increasing numbers of children being forced into child labour sets back their efforts to eliminate child labour by 2025.
Ramaphosa said, “Such exploitative labour practices are also disallowed as they impact the child’s spiritual, moral, and social development. Such labour practices rob children of childhood.”
“They deny them the opportunity to explore, learn, develop and fulfil their potential. Child labour perpetuates the cycle of poverty,” He adds.
According to the International Labour Organisation, more than 160-million children globally are labourers, while over half of them range between the ages of 5 and 11.
VIDEO: Ramaphosa says child labour in its facets is an enemy of our children’s future: