SA-PRC update collaboration on labour market, social security
Source: http://www.safpi.org Updated:2013-9-4
Beijing: South Africa’s Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant and People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Minister of Human Resources and Social Security, Yin Weimin today pledged to strengthen relations in areas of labour market and social security development between the two countries. The pledge also extend to addressing youth unemployment, measures to help reintegrate the unemployed into labour market, public employment services, and how to improve social security benefits.
“Our collaboration is aimed at sharing best practices to accelerate our development. It would also be of much value to us if we can be able to see labour intensive projects that are aimed at creating jobs as we believe that these will be the drivers of employment creation. The MoU will herald a new era in our co-operation and will assist in providing valuable deliverables for both our departments,” Oliphant said.
“The volume/magnitude of this co-operation reflects our intertwined vision to work together in order to realise a better future of our people. We sought to co-operate in various sectors of our economies as well as in multilateral for a. It is my pleasure to indicate that through this MoU, we streamlined our engagements resulting in exchanges of valuable lessons as delegations visited different projects in our countries.
“Whilst we can look back with pride on our engagements since 2006, I acknowledge that a lot still needs to be done as the fluid labour market keeps on presenting new challenges,” she said.
Oliphant said the visit was informed by “One China Policy” adopted in 1998, which has led to development of relations that has seen two treaties, 24 bilateral agreements, 10 protocols, 22 MoUs and a declaration established. She said joint operational programmes to realise the ideals of the MoU would be developed.
The Minister said 70% of the country’s 4,7 million economically active population unemployed were youth and this disengagement amplifies the risk of problematic behaviour and delinquency which challenges social cohesion.
“We remain convinced that it is essential to effectively implement policies aimed at creating jobs that could improve the living standards of the population, reduce high levels of youth unemployment and inequality in the labour market,” Oliphant said.
The Minister plans to use the visit to formalise a partnership with PRC on provision of scholarship opportunities for officials in the department focusing on Public Administration to gain experience and engage Chinese enterprises about bringing young South African entrepreneurs to China for them to gain the required experience so that they can operate their businesses efficiently based on international best practices.
Oliphant said the delegation would also use the visit to learn on the implementation of the social security system of China. She said on the multilateral front through engagements with PRC in forums such as International Labour Organisation, the G-20 and the BRICS economic block, South Africa would co-operate with the country to strengthen ties.
PRC’s MOHRSS Yin Weimin said the partnership being cemented today was a result of formalisation of bilateral relations established in the 1990’s between the two countries. Yin said: “The partnership has reached a new stage and was about to enter into a new era. Your visit is a major development in our partnership. It will further promote more co-operation, and we seek to learn from each other in areas of labour relations and social security,” Yin said.
Oliphant began her PRC visit today (August 26). She is heading a delegation, which include Department of Labour’s officials from various branches such as Unemployment Insurance Fund, industrial relations, inspections and enforcement among others.
The Minister will during her stay in PRC visit the Labour Inspection Bureau; PRC’s Social Security Service Centre and the Public Employment Centre.
The latest trip was triggered by a meeting between the two Ministries in June at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conference in Geneva, whereby a need for renewing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was mooted. South Africa last signed a MoU with China during former Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana.