06 December 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has welcomed Cabinet’s landmark approval of the submission to Parliament for Ratification of Convention 190 (C190) which refers to the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Convention Concerning the Prevention and Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
“This is a significant move by government following pressure by FEDUSA and other Social Partners for it to ratify the Convention after its adoption by the ILO in June 2019 already – and is a very welcome assurance during this year’s 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children – that violence and harassment in the South African World of Work will be dealt with harshly,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Riefdah Ajam.
“FEDUSA therefore urges to Parliament to move with utmost haste to ensure the final enactment process of the Convention”.
Specifically, C190 enables the state to prosecute, fine and imprison perpetrators of physical and emotional violence and harassment directed towards everyone in the World of Work – which has been formally defined as including the Workplace but also extending beyond it to include the home of the worker and travelling to and from work – areas that have up to now been considered private spheres and beyond the reach of employment relations.
If Parliament ratifies C190, South Africa will be joining Uruguay which has become the first ILO member country in the world to ratify C190 and will also setting a good example that should be emulated by other members that have not yet done so especially those from the African region. The ratification of an ILO instrument is followed by its domestification which refers to the transformation of the Convention into an Act of Parliament by a country’s Legislature.
The biggest beneficiaries of the ratification of C190 will of course be the thousands of female workers who live their lives under the cloud of senseless Gender Based Violence in the home in addition to sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to Statistics South Africa, nearly 3000 women were murdered in the 2017/2018 period; many by family, friends or men that were close to them. Many of these women were not just murdered, but suffered traumatic and torturous deaths, experiencing rape, mutilation and terror that has become a reality for every woman in South Africa.
However, both the Ratification of C190 and the Code of Good Practice that has been drafted by the Department of Employment and Labour will still have to be aligned with the Constitution of the Republic to be constitutionally compliant.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Martle Keyter
FEDUSA Deputy President
082 856 2496
Ms Dorothy Nokuzola Ndhlovu
FEDUSA Vice President: Gender and Social Justice
076 424 8747
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
Ms Brenda Modise
Head: Social Policy
073 531 5339
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096