Human Rights and Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Two law structures provided to guide people on fair treatment in South Africa. Unfortunately, this guide is often not abided, by those that are well educated on it. Or sadly, most people are not aware of such a guide that is there to protect them.
Legal Empowerment! So many citizens of South Africa are not legally empowered. There are so many unlawful acts performed by South African employers. These acts are not in anyway unintentional, as it is not a coincidence that these actions are actioned towards those that come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds – or so they think. Unfair dismissals and no payment of salaries after resignation are some of the unlawful acts that occur in places of employment.
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) – laminated – is stuck on the staff/kitchen door, for the employees to read. In all honesty, no one reads it. Mostly because whenever they try to, they barely understand what they are reading. It is time to educate employers and employees on Legal Empowerment. Many are treated with injustice and remain silent because:
- They are too afraid to lose their jobs,
- They are unaware of the rights and protection provided to them by the law.
Our solution? The government (which is the Department of Labour) needs to start visiting places of employment to teach employees of the protection that is at their hands. To empower them to speak up for themselves when they are in the face of injustice, towards themselves or a fellow colleague.
By definition, Legal Empowerment means giving all people the power to understand and use the law to secure justice and meet basic needs. Needs that are our Human Right.
I believe that this is very important, as many people will be empowered to stand up and protect themselves. Statistically, South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased to 29% since the first quarter of 2019. This increased number in unemployment does not help in our target to eradicate poverty by 2030, it only decreases that chance, as one of the main causes of poverty is unemployment. Education is one of the assets that can help deplete poverty and if we act on this, and teach people - employers, employees about Legal Empowerment, this will certainly be a major factor in job security as more people will stand up for their rights and will no longer be bullied out of their jobs.
What is right should always be at the forefront, in anything that we do. The lives of many would-be forever changed as they will no longer live in fear of anyone or anything!
We need to drive this action forward, as this form of education will improve our communities for the better.