Namibia recognises importance of eliminating child labour
Namibia recognized the importance of the elimination of child labour by making significant advances in the form of ratification of several ILO Conventions.
Like other International Labour Organisation (ILO) the Member States, Namibia ratified the ILO Conventions including Convention 138 on Minimum Wage, 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Optional Protocol on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, as a reaffirmation of Namibia’s commitment to the prohibition and the elimination of child labour.
To that effect, a government delegation consisting of social partners led by the Deputy Minister of Labour, Hon. Hafeni Ndemula is in Durban, South Africa to make their contribution and deliberate on the call for urgent action to combat the rising numbers of child labour on the African continent and the World at large. This is the first time that such a conference is held in Africa.
Namibia has recorded a total of ten child labour cases between 2015 and 2021. The Kunene, Omusati and Ohangwena Regions recorded one case each while the Kavango West and Kavango East Regions recorded four and three respectively.
According to the ministry, it has been established through routine workplace inspections by labour inspectors that child labour is rather detected in domestic, and agricultural sectors and in the informal economy.
Factors contributing to child labour are but are not limited to:
Poverty – Children from very poor families or orphans are made to work for their survival and that of their families; Cultural beliefs – Some parents who also have worked from a very young age, not having been to school may see this as part of the tradition; and Cheap or forced labour – The prevailing economic situation in neighbouring countries forces families to send their children to look for work.
According to the ministry, the Labour Act prohibits the appointment of a child under the age of 14 for employment purposes and restricts the appointment of a child under the age of 16. Punitive measures against transgressors are also listed in the legislation.
In terms of the Act, it is an offence for any person to employ, require or permit a child to work in any prohibited circumstance and such person if convicted is liable to a fine not exceeding N$20,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years or both the fine and imprisonment.