Key Note Address: Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour, Boitumelo Moloi at South Africa’s Dialogue On Labour and Mixed
4 October 2022

Programme Director Mr Morotoba
Ambassador of the European Union
ILO Director Pretoria office Dr Musabayana
IOM Regional Director Ashraf EL Nour  
European Union Deputy Head of Delegation Mr Raul De Luzenberger

Organised Labour representatives
Business Constituency representatives
Community Constituency representatives
Government Officials from various Departments
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning

Thank you very much to the organisers for inviting the Department of Employment and Labour to partner with you in organising the South Africa’s Dialogue on Labour Migration Governance.

Let me also extend our appreciation, to the European Union for making it possible, for the various countries in the Sub-sahara region, to organise similar events and for also making it possible in our country for all stakeholders to engage in various topics associated with migration.

We live in a world where more people are on the move than at any other time in our history. People will continue to move from one part of the country and regions to different destinations driven by various pull and push factors such as search for employment opportunities and livelihood, political instabilities, conflict, climate change, bilateral agreements etc. These movements will never stop. As the government of the Republic of South Africa, it is our view that the movement of people from South Africa to other countries and movement of other people from other countries to South Africa must be must be safe, orderly, regular and in accordance with the various protocols and treaties.
Economic Migrants often constitute the highest numbers of migration population and that is why it is befitting that in trying to find solutions to problems that are associated to this phenomenon, that we involve World of Work actors that includes Ministries Employment and Labour and Home Affairs or Interior, organised workers and employers’ organisations, community constituencies in fostering a fair and effective labour migration governance.

The Labour laws in South Africa cover all workers irrespective of race, gender, religious belief or origin. However, what is disturbing, is tendencies by some employers who take advantage of vulnerable workers, given the current high unemployment levels, to exploit them and subject them to unacceptable conditions or undermine the current labour laws and standards. These kind of practices have led to sporadic incidents of conflicts and unnecessary frictions between locals and foreign nationals. We know that in the SADC region, where ever you go, you will find a South African registered car, and at the same token, in any part of the South African roads, you will find foreign registered cars driving freely. I am raising these because there are people who continue to proper gate falls legends and beliefs that South Africans are Xenephobic. South Africa came from a long history of discrimination that surpassed more than 400 years. Our high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment is something that the current government continues to do everything in its power to address and in the process try to eradicate all forms of discrimination that is still prevalent in race, gender, ethnicity and origin.  
Current Global estimates are that there were around 281million international migrants in the world in 2020 and Africa comprised of 33 million or 14% of the total migrants who are mainly young people.

The patterns of the migration flows are today much more complex than before. South-South migration is now as evident as South-North migration, and flows from north to south are on the rise. As a result, the traditional definition of SADC countries of origin and destination is increasingly becoming more complex as most of these countries have also become simultaneously countries of origin, transit and destination of migratory flows. 

International migration is a political issue in many societies and we are not an exception as we have witnessed how easily this matter can be used especially towards election. Migration management is a cross-cutting subject, which touches on: issues of belonging, citizenship and human rights; law and order; access to services; business competitiveness; wages and conditions of employment.  It was precisely for this reason that the President of the Republic of South established an Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Migration and Employment in 2020 led by 12 Ministers and senior Public Servants from various departments led by the Ministers of Employment and Labour and Home Affairs. 

We continue to support initiatives at SADC and the African Union levels aimed at ensuring cooperation in easing the movement of people as a key element of economic and political integration.

We have embarked on an extensive process, to implement the 2013 SADC Ministerial decisions to develop Labour Migration Policies in our different countries to better equip South Africa to manage the governance of Labour Migration. We continue to embrace the 2014 SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework and the 2014 SADC Protocol on Labour and Employment which makes provision for migrant workers in its Article 19. 

South Africa’s first National Labour Migration Policy mission is to provide a national regulatory framework aligned to international labour standards and regional labour migration frameworks whose main objective will be to ensure that labour migration to and from South Africa is undertaken in the interests of both migrant workers and the South African economy and society.

With support from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Department of Labour has adopted an inclusive and participatory policy development strategy which started in 2015 with a high-level seminar on labour migration management and policy development, the establishment of a road map in 2016 and a task team whose responsibility is to supervise the development of the Labour Migration policy. In 2017, the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) therefore started rolling out its national labour migration policy (NLMP) development process. The gazette was published for a period of 90 days. The program has made provision for you to receive the synthesis report on the written and oral comments submitted to the Department during the consultation process. The next steps include approaching NEDLAC for negotiations during October/November 2022, going back to Cabinet and referral of the Bill to Parliament for their deliberations.
The Draft Policy in the main address amongst others the following:

Governance and Management Labour Migration 
Data for policy Monitoring and Evaluation
Labour Migration to South Africa
Labour Migration from South Africa

The policy has been translated into a draft Employment Services Amendment Bill that provides for the following:

The Department in collaboration with relevant departments shall be strengthened to: 
Undertake the projection of human resource requirements in country for labour and skills demand, 
Create a system for disseminating information among potential emigrants; 
Promote opportunities for migrant deployment abroad, taking into account brain drain concerns; 
Ensure equal access for suitably-qualified locals/South Africans to skilled employment opportunities abroad; 
Ensure coherence of the National Labour Migration Policy with any other policies and programmes of Government

The structure of the Dialogue provides very interesting topics, and I have no doubt that at the end of the three days, there will be more experts on this topic. Let me thank you once again UN agencies EUROPEAN UNION , SAMM and ILO, UNHRC, UNDOC, IOM, South African Participants and Presenters for taking time to reflect on these complex matters. It is my sincere hope that you will have fruitful deliberations, engage the presenters, and walk away from the Workshop well informed on issues of labour migration. 
I thank you