Speech by ACDP Leader, Rev KRJ Meshoe MP
CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR APPROVAL BY PARLIAMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO) CONVENTION NO 190 CONCERNING THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT IN THE WORLD OF WORK IN TERMS OF SECTION 231(2) OF CONSTITUTION, 1996 (REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR)
ACDP calls on government to do much more to protect whistle-blowers in the workplace
The International Labour Organisation’s Violence and Harassment Convention of 2019 (abbreviated C190) came into effect on 25 June 2021. Although adopted in June 2019, it has been ratified by only seven countries which are Argentina, Ecuador, Fiji, Mauritius, Namibia, Somalia and Uruguay. Currently it is in force only in Fiji and Uruguay.
C190 is generally a worthy convention for South Africa to aim for but a huge amount of work is still needed before we can honestly claim compliance with its provisions. According to Article 4.1, signatories to C190 are expected to “respect, promote and realize the right of everyone to a world of work, free from violence and harassment.”
Corruption-fighters in the work place are most vulnerable. Article 10 of C190 speaks of “protection against victimization of or retaliation against complainants, victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers.” Sadly, just a week ago, the head of financial accounting of the Gauteng Health Department was gunned down outside her home in broad daylight. As a key witness to the SIU investigation into PPE corruption, Babita Deokaran should have been protected. The ACDP calls on government to do much more to protect all whistle-blowers in the workplace, because without them, the fight against corruption will never be won.
We must remember, honourable members, that happy and satisfied workers are more productive workers. In 1914, Henry Ford made a business decision to pay his factory workers double the going rate for eight-hour shifts, while all the other motor industry workers laboured for 10 to 16 hours a day. By improving working conditions, Ford actually boosted productivity and reduced staff turnover.
I thank you.”1