COSATU honours the memory of all the martyrs of our liberation struggle, whose commitment, bravery and self-sacrifice won for us the human rights that we enjoy today. We remain forever indebted to them for their sacrifices.
Despite the advances made in the past 24 years, the high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality remains unresolved and all these violate people’s human rights. We have also seen extreme landlessness, rampant mineral extraction, and corruption and elicit outflows of billions of rands and all of these economic crimes have seen many people still trapped in sprawling slums and haunted by the spectre of avoidable diseases and death.
Vulnerable workers face severe exploitation and slave like conditions, where workers rights and human rights are violated with impunity.
Young people, women, community care workers, domestic workers and foreign nationals are the victims of these human rights abusers.We still call on the Human Rights Commission to investigate the violation of workers’ rights in the farming sector.
Ruthless farm owners and employer still pay poverty wages, summarily evict tenants from their homes, sometimes assault, rape and even murder their workers. They are also often forced to work on public holidays and have no chance to celebrate the rights which they are denied.
The domestic workers also remain outside South Africa’s Labour Law and its protection. While the abuse of domestic workers is prevalent, we have seen few prosecutions, convictions, or punishments for these violations. This more troubling and sad because South Africa has adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), but there is very little by way of deliberate action to implement the convention.
While labour laws have formally given workers greater protection against unfair dismissal and discrimination, easier and faster dispute settlement, and more protection for trade union organising, the lack of enforcement has led to the new legal framework being honoured almost only in the breach. The Department of Labour should be given more resources to implement its mandate to enforce workers’ rights also to inspect and monitor, whether employers are complying with the laws.
The spike in the number of racial incidents and xenophobic attacks is a timely reminder that we must never be complacent about human rights. We need to fight back against the discourse of racial bigotry and extreme prejudice directed at the black majority, the LGBT community and foreign nationals.
The scourge of corruption in both the private and public sectors has left many of the poor workers and communities’ denied their rights to a decent living and basic amenities , while offenders ,especially in business sector to pay their way out and get away with murder as in the cases of collusion exposed by the competition commission. We demand the strengthening of the legal framework so that responsible company executives can face prosecution.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794