The Department of Labour has published a report on the implementation of the Child Labour Programme of Action 2008 – 2012 (CLPA). The CLPA is a multi-sectoral plan of action to prevent, reduce and ultimately eliminate the worst forms of child labour.
The CLPA includes a wide range of activities which are to be undertaken by different government departments. This report provides a consolidated summary of steps taken by a number of departments in the period of the plan, summarises the overall child labour indicators in terms of the Second Survey of Activities of Young People conducted by Stats SA, makes a number of recommendations for the CLPA 2012 – 2016 to build on the progress made, and identifies the challenges experienced between 2008 – 2012.
The report provides brief descriptions of the progress made on:
- Steps taken by the Department of Public Works to ensure that under-age children do not participate in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
- Poverty alleviation initiatives like the roll-out of grants targeting child labour hot spots through programmes like SASSA’s Integrated Community Registration Outreach Programme, the extension of the CSG to children up to the age of 18 years, the elimination of the documentation barrier preventing access to benefits by vulnerable children in child labour, and legislative developments to ensure that children without adult caregivers can access grants.
- The training of labour inspectors on the protective measures against child exploitation and labour as provided for in the Children’s Act.
- The provision of home and community-based care services for children looking after ill or dying parents or caregivers.
Two of the steps contemplated by the CLPA are of direct significance to early childhood care and education in South Africa. In order to reduce the need for children to care for their younger siblings, the DOSD committed to increase the speed and efficacy of the ECD programme through the adequate provisioning of NGOs. In addition, the Department of Public Works committed to the expedited implementation of the social sector EPWP in the areas found to have a severe shortage of day-care facilities to improve the situation for vulnerable children and families, and at the same time provide income-generating opportunities in the area. The report indicates the steps that have been taken, which are the continued roll out of the ECD subsidy, and the collaboration between DOSD and the Gender Unit in the DPW to identify and improve the quality and availability of home and community-based care centres for young vulnerable children. The assessment of progress simply states that these interventions are ongoing. It does not provide information on the targeting mechanisms used and/or the number of ECD facilities established in especially vulnerable under-serviced communities with high levels of children caring for younger siblings.
The CLPA also makes provision for the development of Integrated Development Plans by local government which prioritise the development of infrastructure and the delivery of free basic water and sanitation in areas where children still have to travel great distances to collect water. Unfortunately, the report does not provide an update on the progress made in this regard.
The 2008 – 2012 CLPA committed the DOL to develop guidelines on onerous domestic responsibilities to provide guidance on the chores that are acceptable and what is regarded as a reasonable amount of time for children to spend on these. These are currently in development and are expected to be finalised in 2012/13.
The report concludes that there are a substantial number of steps contemplated by the CLPA against which departments have reported no progress and many more where only partial achievement has been attained. It therefore recommends that the development of the next stage of the CLPA 2012 – 2016 should focus on determining the reasons for non-completion of the steps, amendment of steps where there are good reasons to do so, and improved monitoring to ensure that progress is made.
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