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SA Deputy Labour Minister, iNkosi Holomisa calls for rationalisation of many African institutions to promote integration

by lloyd last modified 2019-02-27 11:16

26 February 2019

South Africa’s Deputy Labour Minister, iNkosi Phathekile Holomisa has called for the rationalisation of the many institutions that exist in the continent to support the pillars of continental integration.

Holomisa said the multiplicity of organisations with more than one membership per country have serious drawbacks at a practical level. He said there is a view that overlapping memberships, mandates, objectives, protocols, and functions create an unhealthy multiplication of efforts and misuse of the continent’s scarce resources.

The Deputy Minister was delivering an addressing at the opening of the 45th African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) Governing Council meeting held at Zimbali Lodge, near Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal.

The African Regional Labour Administration Centre is currently based in Zimbabwe. The organisation was conceived in 1974, as a project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations Development Programme for the development of Labour Administration in member countries. In 1982, it transformed into a unique organization with its independent Governing Council, comprising labour ministries from its member countries.


The English-speaking member organisation include: Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

The specific general objectives of the Centre include the provision of training for officials at all levels of labour administration system; provision of consultancy and advisory services directed towards strengthening labour administration in member countries; the undertaking of studies and research in all aspects of labour administration; the provision of information services for the benefits of member countries; production and publishing of training materials

"At operational level, we should be able to synchronise ARLAC activities to feed for example, to the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda, i.e.: employment creation, social protection, rights at work, and social dialogue. What we discuss at these ARLAC meetings should be in line with what is topical at International Labour Organization level.

"ARLAC should be encouraged to deepen strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations on the continent and beyond to ensure that the quality of the training improves. Partnering with others will assist to provide relief to a strained budget. ARLAC has an opportunity to move with times and learn new models of delivering training and hopefully to take advantage of these strategic partnerships, such as libraries and online materials for the benefits of trainees," he said.

At both political and economic levels, one question often comes to mind: "How come ARLAC and its sister organisations in the Maghreb and Francophone Africa are not properly integrated to regional political structures such as the Economic Community and the East African Community?" asked Holomisa.

"With Africa serious about its political and economic integration, how is it possible that we still have organisations that are based on the divisive linguistic fault-lines ARLAC is to Anglophone countries while its sister organisations Centre Régional Africain d'Administration du Travail (CRADAT) and Arab Center for Labor Administration and Employment (ACLAE) are French and Arabic speaking African countries, respectively.

"The task I put before you is exploring whether ARLAC, CRADAT and ACLAE cannot be training arms of respective regional formations as well as to making them tripartite in line with the nature of the issues they deal with," he challenged delegates.

"This will, however, require reformulation of their constitutions and redefining their memberships in line with those of Southern African Development Community (SADC), EAC, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Arab Maghreb Union. We must be mindful though that the AU only recognises eight regional organisations. This implies that ARLAC adds to more than a dozen inter-governmental organizations spread across the continent".

He said an ARLAC that is not responsive and quick enough to adapt to change will certainly not survive into the future; member countries would be wasting their scarce financial resources in marinating a structure that does not provide solution to grow regional  economies; and to effect social justice at the workplace.

The 45th African Regional Labour Administration Centre meeting will end on Friday (March 1) with the launch of the Future of Work Global Commission’s report which will be facilitated by South Africa’s Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant. 

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and ILO Director-General are also expected to address the gathering. There will also be a conversation by Ministers of Labour from Zambia, Eswatini, Kenya and Sierra Leone.

The day’s proceedings will conclude with a gala dinner to celebrate the ILO’s centenary. The ILO’s centenary celebrations started in January and will continue in various countries and fora until the end of the year.

NB: Media is invited to the event. Accreditation to attend the gathering is done on site during the event.


Issued by:

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694



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