Speaker [00:00:00] It is with great humility and gratitude. But I stand here. Joining the other heads of states who have come before me to address this high level sitting. Of the International Labour Conference. I would like to convey my gratitude. To the director general of the International Labour Organization Mr. Guy Ryder. For his gracious invitation. For me to attend this august assembly. I congratulate the ILO for organizing this commemorative session. And I have no doubt. This. Hundred and eight session. Will be remembered as a significant milestone. In the 100 year history of the ILO. The International Labour Conference. Has for a century. Stood as a world parliament where Labor practiced practitioners. Have converged annually. To construct and shape labor practices and frameworks. From which member states have drawn guidance and inspiration in developing their respective country policies and legislations. I am encouraged to observe. That this forum has remained true to his primary task. Of striving for social justice. By developing reviewing and revising. Global labor standards and holding constructive debates on critical issues and developments affecting the labor market. The instruments declarations discussions and conclusions of this conference therefore remain an invaluable reference. Reference point for all member states. Mr. President. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen. The firm stance taken by the value in addressing the sensitive and complex subject of violence and harassment at the workplace is indeed laudable. We do hope that a convention will soon be in place to protect workers from this kind of abuse. We are also mindful of the new challenges that the labor market faces. With the advent of rapid technological advancements. And either dynamics such as robotics and automation. While this process started a while back. The pace at which such changes are introduced the workplace in this day and age.
Speaker [00:03:29] Makes it imperative. For QE four key institutions such as the ILO to be proactive in order to proffer advice on what the future may hold for the workplace. If this data revolution will unfold in a similar manner as the Industrial Revolution. We must redouble our efforts in scaling and reskilling our workforces. Experiences. Experience has taught us that job creation happens when the human ingenuity is paired with knowledge based innovation. Employers and workers alike. Have to find each other in this area of rapid technological advancement. Both parties should be able to adapt to a new environment of rapid technological developments. I therefore wish to congratulate the president of the Republic of South Africa. And the prime minister of Sweden for working tirelessly. With the social partners to produce the report with which they have made a number of proposals regarding the future of work. The director general also deserves to be commended for his vision and stewardship in conceiving the idea of the future of work. The centenary celebrations held here at the ILO headquarters are a pinnacle of a process of celebrations that commenced in our countries and regions. At the African continental level. Celebrations were held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia during the African Union sectorial technical committee meeting of Labour and Social Affairs at our regional level. I'm aware that celebrations at the Southern Africa Development Community were held during the SADC employment and labor sector meeting held in March this year in Namibia. In my country. We marked the centenary celebrations by focusing on the most vulnerable workers in the labour market namely workers in the informal sector and in the rural economy. The view of my government is that we cannot talk about the future of work while we still leave the vulnerable members of the labor market behind.
Speaker [00:06:42] We thus found it appropriate and proper to solicit their views on the challenges they encounter around decent work. And in the process ideas were exchanged and shared and how they can translate from the informal to the to the formal economy. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen I remain in total support with a submission made that the universal Labor guarantee is a relic is as relevant today as it was a century ago. This is the founding principle on which the ILO was established. Universal Labor guarantee addresses a critical challenge of unfair competition in trade across the globe. Across the globe as it ensures that basic labor standards are recognized by all member states. Hours of work remain important as work has to be balanced with family and other social responsibilities. Similarly workers have to earn wages that enable them to afford basic needs. The health and safety of workers is of the utmost importance as an unhealthy workforce cannot be productive. Workplace accidents and diseases that are work related should therefore minimized if not eliminated altogether. Last but not least workers should be guaranteed earnings even when they become unproductive due to ill health. Maternity leave and when they are laid off because of operational requirements. Saving for retirement is absolutely critical as it relieves governments of the often unaffordable burden of supporting people in their old age who had spent many years in the field of work. WHILE THE UNIVERSAL UNIVERSAL Labor guarantee is not a panacea to achieving social justice throughout the world it is a critical component to the realization of decent work. It therefore remains an undisputed fact that a Labor policy or legislation that is missing any of these features will be regarded as one team. Permit me at this juncture. To direct this august gathering to the important subject of governance which is at the center of the existence of the ILO.
Speaker [00:09:59] The unique the uniqueness of this organization in bringing workers employers and governments together to discuss issues in which they have a common interest is truly commendable and should be emulated at all levels in our country's public discourse. I wish to point out that we understand that workers and employers are the backbone of the EAC of each of the economic development of all countries. As such I support the view that this unique triangular form of dialogue should not be restricted only to the two traditional Labor issues but should be extended to other platforms of national debate and discourse. Nonetheless no matter how strong this private tripartite model may be it still has challenges that have to be addressed. One such challenge is determining which party has the final say in the event of a stalemate during negotiation process. The general view is that governments as elected REMS as elected representatives of the people should assume such a position. This is a matter that requires serious engagement by all stakeholders in order to arrive at a consensus. The issue of capacity building is also important in order for a social dialogue to add value to economic development. I therefore submit that social partners should be supported to acquire skills and knowledge so that they can serve the institutions if efficiently. The last issue on governance which I wish to address relates to the governance structure of our governing body. The governance structure of the ILO itself needs to be revisited. I am persuaded to support the notion that equality and fairness should be a basis on which the governing body of the ILO is constituted. By making this point I'm not oblivious to the history behind the current arrangement of having permanent members in the governing body.
Speaker [00:12:47] However. We call upon member states to accept the governing structure of the ILO should be restructured in such a way that all regions have permanent member states. In other words we expect the governance the governance structure of the ILO to epitomize equality and fair representation. It is my fervent hope. That the centenary declaration will highlight our aspirations for equality in the governance structures. If that were to be the case the declaration of this centenary celebration would go down as an important landmark in the long history of this institution. Excellencies distinguished ladies and gentlemen I wish to now underscore with appreciation the role that the ILO has played in my country since also to assumed membership of the ILO in 1966. At the outset we wish to register our profound gratitude to the ILO and to the director general in particular whom I had the opportunity to host in my country in July last year for the generous support of the ILO to the kingdom of the soul to. We are particularly honored by the fact that. In recent years an office was established in Pretoria in the Republic of South Africa in order to serve accredited member states in southern African region more efficiently. We would like to point out that to date we have with the kind of assistance of the ILO been able to achieve the following. Enactment of labor legislation that conforms to labor standards establishment of Health and Safety Unit and national employment services. The establishment of the direct rate of dispute prevention and resolution and the Labor court's capacity building of offices in Labor administration the development of the so to decent work Country program. The action plan on the Elimination of Child Labor and the National Labor policy to name but a few.
Speaker [00:15:30] Having said this I am aware that we still experience some challenges in labor related matters. There are still a number of areas where we have fallen short in domesticating the application of certain conventions. We would like to point out that we are committed to addressing these issues so that we can demonstrate our appreciation for the importance of complying with international labor standards as a result. We have heeded the clarion call made by the director general for member states to ratify at least one of the ILO core conventions in this regard. I wish to proudly announced that LA Soto has ratified protocol to road to 9 to the forced labor convention of 1930. I have been advised that the process of depositing the instruments of ratification with the ILO is at an advanced stage. Finally I also wish to request the ILO to support us with their expertise as we embark on our national reforms in the Sawtooth. One of the important components of these reforms is the Public Service Reform whose objective is to restore the public service to a politically neutral and service oriented body. We are therefore pleased to announce that cabinet has approved a Labor policy whose objective amongst others is to ensure that public servants enjoy their full rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We therefore look forward to working with the Decent Work Team in Pretoria as we work on these national reforms. Excellencies distinguished guests. The passion displayed by the director general on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is a clear testimony to the fact that he aspires to promote social justice across the globe. This is truly commendable and we all need to follow his example. It is therefore with a sense of pride to announce that the government of Minnesota has also set up coordination structures for the supervision of the implementation of the SD.
Speaker [00:18:14] The fact that the chairperson of this important committee resides in the office of the prime minister illustrates the seriousness that is accorded this high level oversight committee comprising of two Houses of Parliament social partners nongovernmental organizations faith based organizations and civil society organisations which therefore have a lot in common with ILO outside the traditional labour issues. To conclude I wish to doubt the general and his team the very best in their efforts to shape the future of the of the world of work as they continue to work tirelessly to support Member States to achieve decent work for all. I have no doubt that the director general will fulfill his dreams as he has clearly demonstrated that he appreciates the pivotal role that the ILO plays in eradicating poverty and ensuring that the dignity of mankind is restored and maintained across the globe. Even after 100 years the ILO still remains a vibrant and Livermore that organization that is respected and unbiased by all of us. It is only through the support of this international and national partners that the ILO can carry out its mandate and be in an organization that we can all be proud of. For this reason my government shall remain committed to supporting the work of the ILO and we look forward to further engagements collaboration and cooperation with this noble institution. Ladies and gentlemen I thank you all for your kind attention.