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SA, China sign labour pact

Written by Gabi Khumalo

International relations

South Africa and China will strengthen cooperation in the areas of human resources and employment services.

The pact will see the two countries working together to come up with programmes and solutions to meet the challenges of the labour market in both countries.Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and her Chinese counterpart, Yin Weimin, met recently to share ideas on improving human resource development in both countries.

The two Ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding, which will see parties working together to strengthen employment services, labour inspection services, social security and employment programmes to meet the challenges of the labour market and globalisation.

“During my visit to China in August 2013, we learnt a lot about your labour market and visited institutions of interest to us.

“Key amongst them was the Public Employment Centre in Haidian District, where I was quite impressed with the advanced digital display-wall reflecting by-the-second updates on vacancies,” Minister Oliphant told Yin.

Yin said China was looking forward to deeper cooperation with South Africa.

“The purpose of our visit is to promote our exchanges in the fields of human resources and employment services between South Africa and China,” he added.

Youth unemployment remains a huge challenge globally and domestically.

Minister Oliphant said government, however, was addressing these issues through active labour market programmes such as learnerships, the Expanded Public Works Programme and other targeted initiatives like the Youth Accord and Youth Incentive.

Minister Oliphant said during the sixth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit held in Fortaleza, Brazil, the leaders agreed that a Labour and Employment, Social Security and Social Inclusion Public Policies Forum be explored as a new area of focus.

She said she was aware of informal discussions of officials in Geneva with a view to formalise agreements in this forum.

The Minister said she was keen that this initiative be supported to ensure that labour and employment issues also get the proper recognition within BRICS’ processes.