Together with its CLPA report, the Department of Labour has published a further report: “Child Labour and other Work-Related Activities in South Africa: An Analysis on the Study of Activities of Young People, 2010.” The report provides an overview of the findings of the 2010 Survey of Activities of young People.
The Survey found that 2,4% of children aged 7 – 17 years were employed in economic activities in the year preceding the survey. The rate of employment was highest amongst older children aged 16 – 17 years, it was higher for boys than girls, and higher for Coloured children than other population groups. It was most common in commercial farming areas.
The situation was more severe for children engaged in domestic labour/non-market economic work such as the production of food for household consumption. A quarter of all children reported fetching water, 11% reported collecting fuel, and 7% reported being involved in farming.
There was a gender difference in the nature of the activities in which children were involved. More boys were involved in farming than girls, but more girls reported collecting water and fuel than boys, with children in deep rural areas bearing a significant burden in this regard. African children were also more likely to fetch water and fuel and engage in all other forms of domestic labour. More girls than boys were involved in caring for people. Overall, the level of engagement in household work was 7% higher for girls than for boys.
47% of children engaged in economic work that were attending school had missed five or more days of school, whilst 50% of those involved in non-economic work had missed a similar number of days of schooling.
Poverty is the driving force behind child labour, with 24% of children working to assist the family with money.
Overall, the survey found that;
- 116 000 were engaged in work contrary to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (up from 93 000 in 2006);
- 431 000 were working excessive hours (up from 383 000 in 2006);
- 11 000 children’s school enrolment was affected by work (down from 108 000 in 2006);
- 36 000 children appeared to be absent form school because of work (down from 57 000 in 2006).
The report concludes: “While the numbers involved in child labour are relatively low, and seem to have fallen over the years, the number affected – estimated at 821 thousand - is large in absolute terms. These children need action to be taken.”
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