ZAMBIA and South Africa have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which seeks to protect the interests of their nationals working across the two countries.
The MoU, signed in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday this week, aims to define the basis for institutional relations under which cooperation would be developed between the two parties in the fields of employment, labour and social security.
Areas of cooperation will include collective bargaining, dispute resolution systems, and labour inspections. The MoU will also cover social dialogue, labour market information, occupational health and safety, HIV and AIDS, and Wellness in the workplace. Other areas include international labour cooperation issues, social security issues relating to unemployment insurance and compensation, and productivity issues.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Mr. Fackson Shamenda signed on behalf of the Zambian Government while his counterpart, Ms. Mildred Oliphant, Minister for the Department of Labour signed on behalf of the South African Government. Zambia’s Acting High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms. Philomena Kachesa, South Africa’s Labour Deputy Minister Mr. Sango Patekile Holomisa, representatives from Zambia’s National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and South African Government agencies witnessed the ceremony held at Parliament Buildings in Cape Town.
Mr. Shamenda said the signing of the MoU enhanced the strategic co-operation and partnership on employment, labour and social security between the two countries to which Zambia was fully committed.
He said, “I want to appreciate and acknowledge that our countries have many things in common and have a lot to share and learn from each other for our mutual benefit. South Africa has made many heavy investments in Zambia and the two countries have enjoyed healthy investment and trade relations.
There are many South Africans working in Zambia while South Africa also hosts a lot of Zambian migrant workers and this demonstrates our mutual interests.”
The Minister added that Zambia had relaxed legislation by allowing for dual citizenship so that those that found themselves with only one choice were now free to choose countries.
He noted that there had been in the recent past an emergence of common challenges such as global supply chains, transitioning from the informal to the formal economy and labour migration and that these challenges could only be overcome through strengthened cooperation, collaboration and team work through initiatives such as the signing of the MoU.
He added that a lot needed to be done even in other sectors such as agriculture, mining, commerce, and trade because the various sectors were interrelated. He said that cooperation in labour and employment was the vision of the Southern African Development Community and that the signing of the MoU at the bilateral level was a demonstration that the two countries were ahead in fulfilling the vision.
And Ms. Oliphant referred to South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma, whom she said had emphasised before that such warm historical ties between the two countries should translate into stronger economic, social and developmental relations between the two countries.
Ms. Oliphant said, “The signing of this MoU seeks at the very least, to ensure that the relations between our two countries remain stronger as we continue with our quest for social justice and the betterment of our people.”
She said that South Africa will always remain indebted to Zambia for the selfless support in the struggle against apartheid and that the role the country played would always be remembered as the two countries forge ahead to ensure that the fruits of the liberation South Africa fought for were experienced by the citizens and, most importantly, workers of the two countries.
The Minister said,”I am happy that within your delegation, you have representatives of the National Pension Scheme Authority whom I believe should foster collaboration with our Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Compensation Fund. Furthermore, I remain keen that we engage on the matter of the Global Supply Chains challenges.”
She said that her department was discussing with the International Labour Organisation the intention to meet with representatives of South African companies that run operations in Zambia to discuss the challenges in Global Supply Chains.
She said this ideally should be organised along the principles of a tripartite forum where all the social partners should participate. She said, “We need to encourage South African companies operating or doing business in the rest of Africa to be good ambassadors for our country and identify the developmental trajectories of the countries in which they operate ….they need to obey the laws of the countries where they are doing business