A critical analysis of child labour protective laws in Southern Africa : a case study of Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
In many countries, mainly African, child labour is a major problem compromising future generations and undermining human capital. It is estimated that over 28.4 per cent of all children between the ages of five and 14 years are involved in child labour activities in sub-Saharan Africa. It is an accepted fact that despite legislation, in most countries in Africa the problem of child labour still persists. In this study, a critical analysis of the legislation regulating child labour in Southern Africa will be undertaken, with the focus being on Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This research aims at establishing why child labour is a continuing problem in these countries despite laws that have been enacted to prevent it. Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe were specifically chosen for similarities in their colonial history which has influenced their political, cultural, legal and socio-economic patterns. As is common in the promulgation of laws, lacunae emerge; therefore attention was given to areas that have been overlooked by government. Weaknesses and gaps in these legislation were identified as the reason for the legislation being ineffective when combating or reducing child labour. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to investigate whether the continued prevalence of child labour is due to oversight or the result of a wrong approach by different governments when legislation was drafted. For legislation to be implemented effectively it should be drafted correctly and appropriately; failure to do so results in legislation not achieving its purpose. Where gaps have been identified, realistic recommendations were made on how to correct these problems to make the law work more effectively to combat child labour in Southern Africa.
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