Labour to focus on informal economy in South Africa

Pretoria - The Department of Labour and the International Labour Organisation will on Wednesday host a conference focusing on the informal economy in the area of health and safety and compliance with labour laws.

“The informal sector remains a big challenge to us and this conference will create the thinking around the industry, especially with government having told us to move into the townships and create awareness about labour laws and the need to comply,” said Tibor Szana, Chief Inspector responsible for occupational health and safety at the department.

“The model we will be using will be advocacy and education based on the pillars of inspection and enforcement,” Szana said.

He said education and awareness raising would precede any punitive measures against those involved in the sector.

Szana said it was critical to get the message of health and safety across to those involved in the sector.

In doing this, he said the department needed to change the approach of communicating with the sector. Equally important was to get the buy-in from stakeholders.

He said if someone is invariable killed or injured as a direct result of the activities of those in the sector, the department will be involved to establish the cause of the accident.

The conference will be attended by leading academics, specialist inspectors as well as researchers in the informal sector.

Speakers will include Thobile Lamati, the department’s Director-General, Haroon Bhorat of the University of Cape Town as well as Ludek Rychly of the ILO’s governance unit.

The conference is scheduled to start at 10am at the Strand Tower Hotel.