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Title: South Africa Human Rights Practices, 1995 Author: U.S. Department of State Date: March 1996 SOUTH AFRICA In 1995 South Africa's governing institutions and civil society began to consolidate the changes initiated after the historic 1994 national elections which marked the end of more than 300 years of white-minority rule. In the next phase of the country's democratic transition, most areas held local government elections in November, the first democratic selection of local officials. Ministers from three major parties, the African National Congress (ANC), the National Party (NP), and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) form the Cabinet of the Government of National Unity (GNU) headed by President Nelson Mandela. The Cabinet has functioned exceptionally smoothly, with almost every decision approved by consensus after lengthy debate and compromise. In Parliament the three major parties plus the Democratic Party (DP), the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the Freedom Front (FF), and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) compose the 400-seat National Assembly and the 90-seat Senate. Parliament has changed from being a rubber stamp to its new role as the chief forum of national political debate. The Government currently operates under an Interim Constitution. However, the Constitutional Assembly (the National Assembly and Senate sitting jointly) is in the process of producing a final constitution by May 1996. The judiciary is independent. The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) have undergone monumental changes. Although they remain powerful and influential, they are answerable to civilian leadership to a far greater degree than under the former government. Despite initial disturbances over pay, living conditions, and grades, 20,000 former members of Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK), the ANC's military wing; 6,000 former members of the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA), the armed wing of the PAC; and 9,000 members of the former homeland armies have been successfully integrated with the 65,000 member government defense forces. The integration brought the total SANDF forces to approximately 100,000. However, the military leadership has begun to reduce this number to between 65,000 and 75,000 through voluntary and involuntary resignations and retirements. The SAPS totals 120,000, having assimilated 30,000 police from the former homelands. Some members of the security forces committed human rights abuses. South Africa has a diversified and productive economy with strong agricultural, mining, and industrial sectors. In 1994 the manufacturing sector contributed just under 25 percent to a gross domestic product of $120.2 billion. Unequal opportunities and disproportionate government spending over the years have resulted in illiteracy, high unemployment, and other social ills among the black majority. The official unemployment rate in the formal sector is approximately 32 percent but may actually be over 40 percent. Over 60 percent of the black population is either totally without work or employed in the informal sector. South Africa's democratically elected government has demonstrated a deep commitment to human rights, and the country's newly independent judiciary has protected those rights. President Mandela appointed a government Human Rights Commission in September which is specially charged with ensuring that these protections are respected in fact. In order to foster national reconciliation, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been created with the power to investigate apartheid-era human rights abuses, compensate victims, and grant amnesty or indemnity for many politically-motivated crimes. Although the pace of social change was very slow, Parliament passed a series of bills designed to alleviate discrimination. The Labor Relations Act, the South African Police Service Bill, the Land Tenure Bill, the Gender Equality Bill, the Censorship Bill, and the Abolition of the Death Penalty Bill were all intended to eliminate legal bias against specific sectors of the population. Some members of the security forces reportedly occasionally tortured and abused detainees; 189 persons died in police custody. Political violence, while down substantially since the April 1994 national elections, was on the increase again in KwaZulu/Natal. As the year progressed, ANC/IFP rivalry continued to claim many lives in KwaZulu/Natal but did not spread to any significant degree to other parts of the country. Discrimination and violence against women and violence against children continued to be serious problems. RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from: a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing The number of political and extrajudicial killings continued to decrease, following the general trend after the April 1994 national elections. The Human Rights Committee (HRC), a nongovernmental organization (NGO), reported that political violence resulted in 1,195 deaths in 1995, less than half the 2,687 reported by the HRC in 1994. The South African Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR) figure is 1,044 fatalities as a result of political violence in 1995. In November the HRC reported the lowest monthly number of politically related deaths (54) since it began keeping such figures in 1990. Despite this general decline, politically related deaths in the troubled province of KwaZulu/Natal continued to constitute the vast majority of such incidents nationwide, reflecting continuing ANC-IFP rivalry in that region. The HRC reports that 835 of 1,195 deaths from political violence occurred in KwaZulu/Natal. A downward trend towards year's end was reversed in December, when 74 people died in the province as a result of political violence. Thirty-seven of these were slain in four separate massacres, including one on Christmas day in Shobashobane in which 19 people died. Deaths in police custody remain a matter of concern. The HRC has acknowledged that this category was severely underreported in the past due to a lack of information, but that the SAPS now provides statistics in this area. Through the end of September, SAPS reported 189 deaths in police custody (excluding natural causes). Of these, SAPS reported 102 died as a result of injuries inflicted by the police during or after arrest, 27 died as a result of injuries inflicted by the public during or after arrest, and 40 were suicides. There were no new reports of politically motivated killings attributed to rightwing organizations. However, there were scattered reports of racially motivated murders committed by individuals allegedly affiliated with such organizations. The murder trial of retired SAP Colonel Eugene de Kock, who commanded a police unit allegedly used for "third force" activities, continued. Evidence presented at the trial linked de Kock and other former officials to political murders and other crimes. For procedural reasons, the trial of the 26 Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) members accused of carrying out a preelection bombing campaign has been postponed until February 1996. As of September, one individual reportedly suspected of involvement in the 1994 assassination of former Dutch Reformed Church moderator Johan Heyns remains in custody on unrelated charges; however, no charges have been filed in the Heyns case to date. Former Defense Minister Magnus Malan and 19 codefendants will go on trial in March 1996 on murder charges arising from the 1987 massacre of 13 persons near Durban. Malan's coaccused include former senior officers of the SANDF's predecessor organization, the South African Defense Force (SADF), officials from the IFP, and from the KwaZulu police. The massacre allegedly was carried out by an IFP paramilitary unit created and trained by the SADF while Malan was defense minister. Malan has denied the charges and vowed not to seek amnesty from the TRC. b. Disappearance There were no new reports of politically motivated disappearances caused by government authorities or agents. The TRC, appointed in late 1995, is empowered to investigate a broad range of political disappearances that occurred since 1960. These investigations, scheduled to begin by early 1996, are intended to throw light on the circumstances surrounding several disappearances during the apartheid period. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The Interim Constitution stipulates that "no person shall be subject to torture of any kind, whether physical, mental, or emotional, nor shall any person be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment." Courts have been active in enforcing these provisions, and broad efforts to reform police practices have largely curbed such activities. However, there were scattered but credible reports of police abusing detainees while in custody. Monitoring organizations have reported: threats to the life of a detainee with a drawn weapon, electric shocks to the body (including the extremities and the genitalia), simple assaults, and ejection from a moving vehicle. In February, according to a report compiled by the Independent Board of Inquiry, members of the SAPS Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit in Johannesburg allegedly assaulted and tortured a security guard suspected of involvement in a bank robbery. The HRC reported an incident in which members of the SANDF allegedly detained and assaulted 10 men in Loskop, KwaZulu/Natal, after they were arrested for possession of two unlicensed weapons, as well as a similar incident in Kwamashu, KwaZulu/Natal. The SAPS has undergone sweeping and positive changes under the leadership of Commissioner George Fivaz, appointed by President Mandela in January. Fivaz instituted reforms designed to create partnerships between local police forces and the communities they serve. He also demilitarized the force, substituting civilian titles for military ranks, and has emphasized the "service" role of the police. Resignations and retirements of senior police officials have permitted the infusion of new blood at senior levels, from both inside and outside the SAPS. These appointments have also contributed toward achieving affirmative action goals within the SAPS. Prison conditions meet minimum international standards and the Government permits unannounced visits by human rights monitors. In February the Government signed an agreement providing the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees held by or on behalf of SAPS without prior notice, formalizing a working arrangement which had been in place since October 1992. d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile The Interim Constitution expressly prohibits detention without trial. It also provides that every "detained person" has a number of other rights, including the right to be informed promptly of the reasons for detention; to be charged within 48 hours of arrest; to be detained in conditions of human dignity; to consult with legal counsel at every stage of the legal process; to communicate with relatives, medical practitioners, and religious counselors; and to be released with or without bail, unless the interests of justice require otherwise. In September President Mandela signed into law a statute which makes it somewhat more difficult for persons accused of certain very serious crimes to obtain bail by placing the burden on the accused--rather than the prosecution--to demonstrate that bail is in the interests of justice. At year's end, courts and police were generally acting in good faith to respect these rights. There were no reports of forced exile. e. Denial of Fair Public Trial The Constitution provides for an independent and impartial judiciary subject only to the Constitution and the law. The 11 justices of the new Constitutional Court, South Africa's supreme judicial body, were sworn in by President Mandela on February 14. The Court began hearing cases the next day and early on moved to establish its independent authority. In its second ruling, the Court abolished capital punishment, a decision which was in line with ANC policy but harshly criticized by other political parties and reportedly contrary to widespread public opinion. In September the Court overturned one section of a statute governing local elections. This marked the Court's first major ruling against the ANC-led Government of National Unity, further establishing the Court's independence. Drawing on its powers of judicial review, court rulings have also limited the use of police- compelled confessions, banned the use of corporal punishment in the criminal justice system, upheld the right to state-provided counsel, and guaranteed access to police documents. While the precise relationship between the Constitutional Court and the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (which was formerly the country's supreme judicial body) remains unclear, the interim Constitution makes the former the highest court in interpreting constitutional issues; the latter remains supreme in all others. Judges try criminal cases; the jury system was abolished in 1969. Serious offenses are tried in the Supreme Court, while magistrates, who are career civil servants, hear lesser offenses. The presiding judge or magistrate determines guilt or innocence. The Constitution's section on fundamental rights provides for due process, including the right to a fair, public trial within a reasonable time of being charged and the right to appeal to a higher court. It also gives detained persons a right to state-funded legal counsel when "substantial injustice would otherwise result." The Government and legal bodies have acted to redress historic racial and gender imbalances in the judiciary and the bar. The ranks of judges, magistrates, senior counsels, and attorneys are now more reflective of society, although still far short of a representative composition. There were no reports of political prisoners. Some persons remained incarcerated for common crimes which they claim were committed for political reasons. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence Police and security forces retain the legal authority to engage in domestic surveillance activities. Most observers believe that use of this authority generally has been limited to the pursuit of legitimate law enforcement and national security activities. At year's end, evidence emerged of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping of senior police officials and a government minister, although the identities and motives of the perpetrators remain unclear. In July the Government selected judges for the Constitutional Land Court established to adjudicate claims of persons dispossessed and removed from land during the apartheid era. Several thousand land claims have already been lodged with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights which has been set up to process, investigate, and attempt to settle claims. Decisions will be referred to the court for approval, and complex claims will be heard and decided by the Court. The deadline for lodging claims is May 1997, and the Court must complete its work within 5 years. Unauthorized land invasions by squatters also continued sporadically throughout the year, a practice severely criticized by the Government as inimical to the housing strategy it devised as part of its Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP). Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Freedom of Speech and Press The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, and the Government respects these rights in practice. The press criticizes both the Government and the opposition. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) controls all broadcast television and most radio. Once seen as the Government's mouthpiece, the SABC is in the midst of an historic reorganization and change of direction. Under the leadership of a new board of directors and top- level management, the SABC became a laboratory for the Government's push for affirmative action in hiring and promotions. At the same time, the SABC is carefully building and protecting editorial independence from the Government. In May the SABC turned down a government request for weekly 30-minute prime time slots on television and radio. The Government accepted this display of independence, having declared publicly that it would not attempt to use the SABC as an instrument of official propaganda. SABC news programming offered balanced coverage of the Government and the leading opposition parties, although the smaller opposition parties regularly complained of insufficient coverage of their activities. The Independent Broadcast Authority (IBA) began to effect major changes in the electronic media. The IBA granted 80 licenses for community radio broadcasters and approximately 40 stations began broadcasting in 1995. The IBA also released its "Triple Inquiry Report" in August, calling for dissolution of the SABC's television monopoly and a further diminution of the SABC's primacy in radio. While the IBA report established local content quotas for the electronic media, its fundamental effect was to begin to bring real competition to the country's airwaves for the first time in history. Although rarely invoked, considerable legislation remained on the books that permits the Government to restrict the publication of information about the police, the national defense forces, prisons, and mental institutions. Other legislation still in effect, though not invoked, can compel reporters to reveal their sources. NGO's, notably the Freedom of Expression Institute, actively work for the repeal of these laws and for ironclad guarantees of press freedom in the permanent Constitution. There were no instances of government or police sanctioned harassment of the press, nor of systematic attempts by political organizations to intimidate the media. There are no official restrictions on academic freedom. b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association Political parties and organizations exercise broad constitutional freedoms of assembly and association. c. Freedom of Religion The Interim Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right in practice. d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation The Interim Constitution provides for freedom of movement, including travel abroad, choice of residence, and safeguards on citizenship. The Government of National Unity has not restricted the movement of citizens domestically or their freedom to travel overseas, emigrate, or repatriate. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has largely completed its efforts to assist with the repatriation of South African exiles under its September 1991 mandate. On May 15, the United Nations acted to end the refugee status afforded to South Africans abroad. The Government cooperates with the UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees. In some cases, however, energetic efforts to combat illegal immigration resulted in wrongful deportations. In at least one instance, Mozambicans claiming refugee status, including some with proper documentation, were wrongfully detained and deported by the SANDF. In this instance, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in Pretoria admitted its error and acted to prevent any such recurrence by providing additional training for SANDF and immigration officers. In 1995 the UNHCR has trained over 300 government officials from the SAPS, the SANDF, and the DHA to improve their understanding of the rights and protections afforded refugees. In addition, the DHA joined with the UNHCR to train members of the DHA committees that rule on applications for refugee status, shortening the time applicants wait for a ruling on their refugee status to an average of 6 months. Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government South Africa is governed under an Interim Constitution which allows for executive power sharing among political parties, based on the proportion of the vote they received in South Africa's first nonracial election in April 1994. It provides for a bicameral parliament, an executive state president, and an independent judiciary which, for the first time, includes a Constitutional Court. All citizens over 18 years of age were permitted to vote in the election. The Parliament comprises the National Assembly and the Senate, and, when in joint session, serves as the Constitutional Assembly. According to the Interim Constitution, the Constitutional Assembly is required to draft and approve a new and permanent constitution which is consistent with 34 constitutional principles by May 9, 1996. If it fails to do so, and absent a constitutional amendment extending the deadline, Parliament will be dissolved, and a new election held. By year's end, delays in the drafting process had led to consideration of postponement of the deadline for approval; a decision on this matter was expected in early 1996. The National Assembly is made up of 400 members elected by a system of proportional representation. Of the 19 parties which stood for election, 7 received enough votes to gain seats in the Assembly. The Senate consists of 90 members, 10 from each of the 9 provinces created under the Constitution. With a few exceptions, the Senate has coequal legislative powers with the National Assembly. The legislature may approve, amend, or rewrite legislation submitted by the Cabinet for consideration. In addition to President Mandela, who is the Executive Head of State, South Africa has two Executive Deputy Presidents, Thabo Mbeki, from the ANC, and F.W. de Klerk, the former president, from the NP. A constitutional amendment created an additional 28th cabinet seat beyond the original maximum of 27 seats provided for in the Interim Constitution. Under the terms of the Interim Constitution, any party holding at least 20 seats in the Assembly is entitled to a proportional share of cabinet seats. The ANC, which gained 252 seats, shares cabinet positions with the NP which has 82 seats and with the IFP which holds 43 seats. According to the Interim Constitution, the Cabinet must in the first instance seek consensus. To date in practice, the Cabinet has generally functioned on that basis, although there have been concerns about the coordination and effectiveness of the established bureaucracies in carrying out the policies of the new political leadership. The Interim Constitution provides for a Constitutional Court whose responsibility is to interpret, defend, and enforce the Constitution. The Court has the power to overturn any law or executive act that it deems unconstitutional. Chapter three of the Constitution delineates over 25 fundamental rights of a citizen which it is the Court's duty to protect. The Constitutional Court must also rule on whether the national constitution or any of the provincial constitutions are consistent with the constitutional principles in the Interim Constitution. Transitional authorities continued to administer local governments throughout South Africa for the first part of 1995, in preparation for the country's first democratic local government elections. Legislation was passed in September to allow these elections to be held on staggered dates. Most areas of the country conducted voting on November 1 to elect representatives to nearly 700 local councils. Despite a number of logistical problems, elections proceeded peacefully and the results were generally accepted by all parties. Disputes over demarcation of boundaries and other issues forced postponement of elections in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area, KwaZulu/Natal, and a few other scattered districts. Elections in these areas are now scheduled to be completed by the end of May 1996. There are no legal impediments to women's participation in government and politics. President Mandela has publicly stated that he is committed to ensuring adequate representation of women in all aspects of governance. Nearly one third of the National Assembly members are women; there are 18 women in the 90-member Senate, and a woman was elected Speaker of the National Assembly. However, women are less well represented in the Cabinet, where only 3 out of 28 ministers are women. There are no women among the nine provincial premiers. In an effort to increase female representation in the political sphere, the ANC set a goal of 50 percent female candidates for its November 1 local government elections lists, although that figure was not reached in some cases. Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights During 1995 Parliament passed and President Mandela signed into law legislation creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, empowered: to look into apartheid-era gross human rights abuses dating from 1960; to grant indemnity or amnesty to perpetrators of a broad range of politically-motivated crimes; and to award compensation to victims of human rights abuses. After nominations from a broad range of public and private organizations, Mandela named the members of the TRC in late 1995. The investigations of this body are expected to shed light on a broad range of abuses that occurred before South Africa's democratic transition in 1994. President Mandela also named the members of the newly created Human Rights Commission in September, drawing from a broad spectrum of civil society. The Commission is tasked with promoting the observance of fundamental human rights at all levels of government and throughout the general population. The commissioners may conduct investigations, issue subpoenas, hear testimony under oath, and assist individuals wrongly deprived of fundamental rights to seek redress. In June the Parliament appointed an individual to fill the Office of Public Protector, who will be responsible for investigating abuse and maladministration by the Government. A number of human rights groups operate without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials are generally cooperative and responsive to their views. Many of these organizations are now represented on governmental bodies seeking to gather public input and to fashion policies related to human rights. Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status The Constitution explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, gender, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, or language. Women There is a high rate of domestic violence against women. According to a study by People Opposing Women Abuse, the figures for reported rape rose from 19,308 to 27,056 between 1988 and 1993, an increase of 40 percent. Unofficial estimates by the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders suggests that only 1 in 20 rapes is reported to police. Discrimination against women, particularly against black women, remains a serious problem despite legal and constitutional advances and government attention to this issue. South Africa ratified the 1981 U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on December 15. The Interim Constitution provides for the establishment of a Commission for Gender Equality, which will advise and make recommendations to Parliament on legislation which affects women. The Commission was not yet in place by year's end, although it is slated to be considered early in the 1996 parliamentary session. A team of South African experts on gender has urged the Government to create an Office on the Status of Women to ensure tht a gender perspective is integrated into all publicly funded policies and programs. The Government is now looking into how the office could be incorporated. The team recommended that the OSW be located in the President's office to give it political influence, and Deputy President Mbeki indicated in a press conference that the office might be in operation by the end of March 1996. South Africa has now officially ended tax discrimination against married women. However, discrimination against women in traditional law continues. For example, women's groups continue to press for legislation to protect women in customary marriages. The Government has made a concerted effort in several areas to increase women's participation in governance and heighten awareness of women's issues. Children The Interim Constitution stipulates that children have the right "to security, basic nutrition, and basic health and social services." Although the Government is committed to providing these services and to correcting past race-based imbalances, it is still developing the mechanisms for delivering necessary services. Special programs known as "Presidential Initiatives" because the reflect President Mandela's personal interest are part of the Reconstruction and Development Program. They offer free health care to pregnant mothers and children under 6 years of age, and provide nutritious meals for primary school children. Following President Mandela's criticism last year of keeping unsentenced children in jail, the Correctional Services Act was amended to prohibit the detention of children younger than 18 in jail or police cells. Arrested children must now either be released into the custody of their parents or kept in a "place of safety" as defined by the Child Care Act. Violence against children remains widespread and likely underreported. The Goldstone Commission investigating the effects of violence on children released a report stating that South Africa had become a "child-abusing" society and that violence had come to be expected. Many NGO's, such as the National Children's Rights Committee, are working to enhance the quality of life of South Africa's children. Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, is traditionally practiced in some remote areas of South Africa, but the practice is not thought to be widespread. People with Disabilities The Interim Constitution and Bill of Fundamental Rights include disability as a basis for nondiscrimination. South African society continues to promote an increasingly modern concept of people with disabilities as a minority whose civil rights must be protected. In 1986 the NP government incorporated architectural specifications into the National Building Code to ensure equal access to public buildings for the physically disabled. However, these have rarely been enforced and until recently, public awareness of them was virtually nonexistent. The National Environmental Accessibility Program, an NGO whose affiliated members comprise disabled consumer as well as service- provider groups, has now established a presence in all nine provinces in order to lobby for compliance with the regulations and to sue offending property owners, as necessary. De facto government and private sector discrimination in employment still exists, given the wide discretion allowed managers in hiring practices. The Government is attempting to ensure that all RDP projects take account of the needs of disabled citizens. National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities The Government has theoretically eliminated all forms of racial discrimination with the adoption of the Interim Constitution and the Bill of Fundamental Rights and the near total repeal of the race-based statutes of the apartheid era. It has also begun reorganizing and redesigning the educational, housing, and health-care systems to benefit all racial and ethnic groups in society more equally. The public and private sectors continue to pursue a vigorous program of affirmative action, which is expressly permitted under terms of the Interim Constitution. Section 6 Worker Rights a. The Right of Association Freedom of association is guaranteed by the Interim Constitution and given statutory effect by the recently approved Labor Relations Act (LRA). All workers in the private sector are entitled to join a union. Most workers in the public sector, with the exception of members of the South African National Defense Force, the National Intelligence Agency, and the South African Secret Service, are also entitled to join a union. No employee can be fired or prejudiced because of membership in or advocacy of a trade union. There are 201 registered trade unions and 47 unregistered trade unions, with an approximate total membership of 3.4 million, or 44 percent of the employed, economically active population. The largest trade union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, is formally aligned with the ANC and the South African Communist Party. The second largest trade union federation, the National Council of Trade Unions, while officially independent of any political grouping, has close ties to the Pan Africanist Congress and the Azanian Peoples Organization. There are 62 trade unionist in national and provincial government following the 1994 elections. The right to strike is provided for in the Constitution. This right is given statutory effect by the new LRA, which established a simple procedure for a protected strike. All that is required is that the dispute be referred for conciliation. If conciliation fails to resolve the dispute, then a trade union is entitled to engage in a legal strike. Such a strike is not liable to criminal or civil action. The LRA does allow employers to hire replacement labor for striking employees, but only after giving 7 days' notice to the striking trade union. The LRA applies to public sector as well as private sector workers. Therefore, public sector employees are also guaranteed the right to strike, with the exception of those performing essential services and members of the three components of the security services mentioned above. While this right was first asserted in the Public Sector Labor Relations Act of 1993, the new LRA simplifies and rationalizes collective bargaining in the public sector and the resort to industrial action. The Government does not restrict union affiliation with regional or international labor organizations. The International Labor Organization (ILO) readmitted South Africa in 1994. Originally an ILO member since its 1919 inception, South Africa withdrew from the ILO in 1964. Following the reinstatement, the International Labor Conference rescinded its declaration concerning action against apartheid. b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively The law defines and protects the rights to organize and bargain collectively. The Government does not interfere with union organizing and generally has not interfered in the collective bargaining process. The new LRA statutorily entrenches "organizational rights," such as trade union access to worksites, deductions for trade union subscriptions, and leave for trade union officials, which strengthen trade union ability to organize workers. The creation of the National Economic Development and Labor Council, a tripartite negotiating forum, will solidify the role of trade unions as social partners with government and business in the formation of economic and labor policy. The new LRA creates workplace forums which will allow for better shopfloor communication between management and labor over issues of work organization and production. The forums, to receive statutory protection, can only be initiated by trade unions in businesses with more than 100 employees. However, the law is designed to build wide support within the trade union movement and business for new workplace relationships. It is intended that with time and support the sections of the law regarding workplace forums will be expanded to include such groups no matter what the size of the workplace. To further reduce the adversarial nature of South African labor relations, the new LRA also creates a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA), which will play an aggressive, interventionist role in resolving disputes before they become full- fledged strikes or lockouts. In the event the CCMA is unable to resolve a dispute, it may be referred to the Labor Court. However, the intent of the LRA is to reduce judicial intervention into labor relations, relying on the parties to resolve disputes whenever possible. South Africa has no export processing zones. c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor Forced labor is illegal under the Interim Constitution and is not practiced. d. Minimum Age of Children Employment of minors under age 15 is prohibited by the law. However, the law gives discretionary powers to the Minister of Welfare to exempt certain types of work to allow individual employers or groups of employers to hire children under certain conditions. This is common practice in the agricultural sector. Use of child labor in the informal economy is also common. The Ministries of Labor and Justice are weak and reactive in enforcing child labor laws, depending largely on complaints made against specific employers. e. Acceptable Conditions of Work There is no legally mandated national minimum wage. Instead, the LRA provides a mechanism for negotiations between labor and management to set minimum wage standards, industry by industry. Currently, 100 industries covering most manufacturing workers come under the provisions of the Act. In those sectors of the economy not sufficiently organized to engage in the collective bargaining processes which establish minimum wages, the Wage Act gives the Minister of Labor the authority to set minimum wages and conditions. The Wage Act, however, does not apply to farm or domestic workers. Occupational health and safety issues are a top priority of trade unions, especially in the mining and heavy manufacturing industries. Although attention to these issues has increased dramatically, including passage in 1993 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, industrial and mining processes are still dangerous and sometimes deadly. A Mines Commission of Inquiry convened in 1994 to address health and safety issues in the mining sector. Its findings and recommendations have been incorporated into new mine safety and health legislation which is currently before Parliament. Current occupational health and safety laws, while requiring an employer not to place employees at unreasonable risk, do not give employees the right to remove themselves from a hazardous job. An employee's decision to leave a hazardous worksite could possibly lead to dismissal but more probably would result in disciplinary action. Occupational health and safety laws do provide protection for workers who report or file complaints against unsafe working conditions. Such workers cannot be dismissed or reduced in salary or rank. (###)
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