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Workplace protection for informal workers with reference to waste pickers in the Durban Metro area: an exploration of section 24 of the South African Constitution of 1996.

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This thesis explores the extent to which the environmental rights contained in section 24 of the South African Constitution of 1996 are potentially applicable to people who work informally in public spaces, in particular, waste pickers in the Durban Metro area. The extent to which environmental rights may be applicable to these workers is measured by first reviewing the current conditions under which waste pickers in Durban work. The study then argues that, in accordance with section 24(a), all human beings have a fundamental right to an environment that is safe and does not threaten their health or well-being. It concludes that waste pickers ought to enjoy protection in their work environment. The research further highlights deficiencies in waste pickers’ entitlement to have their work environment protected through legislative and other measures as provided for by section 24(b), by reviewing the extent in which current legislation and other measures provide for workplace protection for informal workers; who are the working poor. Finally, it gives recommendations on how these deficiencies could be addressed drawing lessons from foreign case law and international experiences which can be adapted to the South African context.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.