Research report - National Child Labour Action Programme for South Africa (1).doc

People participating in the consultative process on

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People participating in the consultative process on children’s work in agriculture considered work in commercial agriculture more detrimental than work activities in subsistence agriculture for the following reasons: Children are often employees in commercial agriculture, while this is uncommon in subsistence agriculture. Dangerous tools and powered machinery are used to a much greater extent. More processing and preservation of agricultural produce occurs, involving higher degree of hazardous work. Dangerous chemicals are used to a much greater extent. In some cases, bonded labour is found. The following is proposed to address work in commercial agriculture: (70) The DL should vigorously prohibit the employment of children under 15 years old , because of the many dangers facing working children in this sector. Lead institution: DL . New policy? No, implementation of existing policy. Once off cost: nil. Recurrent cost: moderate, although already budgeted for. Time line: within one year of adoption of policy. (71) Encouraging the provision of subsidised boarding houses or subsidised boarding with
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Page 54 Proposed action – by forms of harm Draft 4,10 Oct 2003 households in town for children from far-flung areas, especially those in high-school. DrE is presently considering this option. If it agrees, a feasibility study should be done. Institution: DrE . New policy? Yes. Once off cost: moderate. Recurrent cost: minimal, if all the state does is to encourage the provision of such boarding by churches and others; substantial is the state pays. Time line: within four years of adoption of policy. This will facilitate access to education and reduce the likelihood of children being withdrawn during the school term to work in commercial agriculture. It will also have these additional benefits: (a) It should reduce potentially exploitative practices (in some cases similar to bonded labour) times where a child from a poor family has to work as domestic worker to pay for his or her boarding. Boarding facilities would release the child from the choice of working in such circumstances or forgoing education – see (38)(b) and (67)(c). (b) It should be very beneficial for children working many hours in subsistence agriculture, where schools (especially those offering higher grades) are too distance. However, the potential effect of such a policy on the ability of families to run subsistence farming operations should be assessed. (72) Schools should be more flexible about school hours , (eg by starting and finishing later or earlier, or taking holidays during peak harvest time) without compromising on the number of school hours required, to allow children aged 15-17 to work in high season when there are opportunities to earn income. This could contribute to funding their education and other needs.
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