Budget Vote 22: hearing

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Employment and Labour

20 April 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

20 April 1998


Documents handed out

Documents handed out
1997 Department of Labour Annual Report: executive summary
1998/99 Budget: presentation by Department of Labour

The following bodies presented submissions:
Free Market Foundation
Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA)
Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference
South African Chamber of Business

This meeting has not been minuted. Below is a summary of the oral and written submissions, which appeared in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports of 22 April 1998.


1. Free Market Foundation
The Free Market Foundation felt that the primary objective of the government is to create an environment that will enable South African citizens to improve their quality of life by increasing their standard of living. It indicated that South Africa had to be given greater economic freedom to compete successfully in the global market. There should be a clear indication of the policies needed to achieve a more free economy that are broadly consistent with the policies of GEAR.

The Department should address the legitimate concerns of persons regarding health and safety matters. It must also consider the difference in size of enterprises when imposing health and safety measures, as it could be financially taxing for smaller enterprises to comply with such measures.

The Foundation also indicated that most companies invest in people. South African companies are exposed to global competition, and to ensure human resource development, the government must remove all unnecessary encumbrances to enterprises. The primary role of the Department is to eliminate unemployment by increasing the demand for labour.

2. AHI
The AHI suggested that the Department should invite labour and business to a briefing on the budget prior to deliberations of the Committee. The Department should supply business and labour with information that will assist them in making constructive presentations to the Committee. The AHI has a number of programmes. contained in the form of questions, that will assist the Committee in its deliberations (these questions are kept by the Committee Section).

The AHI also suggested that, whilst it is important that trade unions be strengthened (under the programme Strengthening Civil Society). SMMEs also need to be strengthened to increase their capacity to deal with labour matters.

3. Fedusa
The major problem facing the labour force in South Africa is a rising level of unemployment. According to Fedusa, South Africa needs an economic growth rate of 5% just to absorb new entrants into the labour market. It feels that labour policies should-
(1) incorporate the elimination of discrimination in the labour market:
(2) focus on training and education to strengthen human resources;
(3) focus on health and safety aspects of the workplace and ensure that the workplace meet international standards; and
(4) introduce labour legislation which will address the various aspects of training, discrimination and health and safety.

4. Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA)
The DPSA appreciated that for the first time in South Africa there is a Constitution that outlaws discrimination. They regarded this as an important milestone. They also appreciated the efforts made by the Department to come with special projects aimed at building capacity for the disabled. The issues they are unhappy about, relates to the improvement of protective employment or sheltered employment for the blind. They argue that disabled people should be empowered to compete in an open labour market rather than be confined to the current welfare approach. The Department and other departments should raise the awareness of the public service in general and teach them how to deal with disabled people and with discriminatory attitudes that prevail against the disabled in society.

5. Sacob
Sacob stated that the labour market is over-regulated. Through the Nedlac process, one piece of legislation should strike a proper balance between the rights of the employer and the employee. Their contention is that, unfortunately, the labour laws are more often than not biased in favour of labour. The overall effect of the new legislation will be that it will inhibit job creation further.

The SACBC welcomes the increase of 18,35% in the budget. They highly appreciated the increase in the amounts allocated in respect of human resources development and to labour policy.

It indicated that the CCMA deserved its allocation. It would help the CCMA to ease the case burden, which exceeds the capacity.

The SACBC feels that the allocation in respect of the UIF is disturbing, as it remains unchanged at R7 million. There is also a decrease in the amount allocated to the work centre for disabled and the workshop for the blind.


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