Speaking Notes for Deputy Minister B. Moloi Vote of thanks at the signing ceremony of the Bilateral Memorandum of U
05 July 2022


Thank you very much, Programme Director, for this opportunity.


I would like to thank Federal Councillor Mr Guy Parmelin and his delegation for making time to travel to South Africa for this momentous occasion.


I would also like to recognise the presence of Minister Nxesi, ILO head in South Africa, Dr Joni Musabayana and all officials.


Cooperation between South Africa and Switzerland is amongst the most important in our country's reach out to the world. And South Africa has long been one of Switzerland's key economic partners on the African continent. Our two countries' collaborative efforts prioritise areas such as economic cooperation, education, research and innovation.


The Swiss Confederation is one of South Africa's key economic partners, as signified by the large trade volume between the two countries, which exceeded R340 billion in 2020. South Africa mainly exports precious metals to Switzerland. We import pharmaceutical products, machinery, precision instruments and watches from our alpine friends.


Swiss companies maintain a significant presence in South Africa, and some of them, like Nestle, have been in our country for decades. It is therefore essential to note that more than 100 Swiss companies have subsidiaries or production facilities in South Africa. All in all, these companies employ around 50,000 people.


We welcome the expansion of the economic portfolio, which now includes the labour and employment issues. This means there are now at least twenty-two bilateral agreements between South Africa and Switzerland.


The MoU signed this morning comes against a challenging economic climate due to the pandemic and many global issues that impact our countries. Furthermore, the South African labour market is highly constrained and struggling to deal with high unemployment, migration and instabilities that threaten livelihoods, social coherence, and peace.


We wish our friendship and close cooperation will provide the necessary solutions to employment creation and labour market governance for the benefit of our citizens. 3


We also hope we can also share valuable experiences with our Swiss counterparts in the matters of ensuring equality at work. Both South Africa and Switzerland are members of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), which is committed to reducing the gender pay gap and making equal pay for work of equal value.


As South Africa, we would like to strengthen our bilateral cooperation within the context of the ILO, where global labour market policy is set. We acknowledge that we must put our heads together to develop strategies for the rapidly changing world of work as envisaged in the ILO Centenary Declaration. We further note the urgent need to eliminate all forms of decent work deficits in the global labour markets.


It was with great appreciation to witness the International Labour Conference reinforcing the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, where a safe and healthy work environment was promoted to become a fundamental right.


There are many technical areas that both our countries can explore to influence the direction of the ILO and multilateralism at large. SDG 8 pertains to achieving full and productive employment and decent work and demands that we must collaborate with numerous stakeholders to grow our economies and also create jobs.


Furthermore, our bilateral and multilateral cooperation should not be mutually exclusive. In our view, they are two sides of the same coin and are complementary. Social dialogue should therefore remain an essential pillar on which we anchor all our activities.

We thus urge the two sides to develop a programme of work that will enhance our bilateral cooperation and this bilateral instrument should be a timely intervention in managing challenges found in our respective labour markets.


Minister, Federal Councillor, with these few words, I offer our sincerest thanks for all that was done today and wish everyone a safe passage when they return. I also urge the Swiss delegation to take some time to enjoy our country and hospitality.


I thank you.