Enhancing and strengthening social protection coupled with the elevation of informal sector contribution will take centre stage when the second – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries’ Employment Working Group (EWG) series of meetings gets underway next week.

The Department of Employment and Labour will host the second in a series of BRICS countries’ Employment Working Group meetings of the labour and employment stream at St. Andrews Hotel, Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape – under the theme: “Ensuring decent work, dignity and respect for all”.

Speaking ahead of the start of the meetings Department of Employment and Labour Acting Deputy Director-General, Labour Policy and Industrial Relations (LP&IR), Sipho Ndebele said Africa was lagging at a paltry 17 percent in terms of social protection penetration. Ndebele said the potential of informal sector to skills development and employment can no longer be ignored. He said informal sector was becoming an indispensable employer in many developing countries.

“The experiences and lessons learnt during Covid-19 has placed a responsibility on policy makers to put in place viable and enhanced social protection systems,” he said.

The first BRICS EWG and Research Network Forum meetings were held from 21-24 February at Misty Hills Country Hotel Conference Centre & Spa, Muldersdrift in Gauteng Province. The EWG meetings bring together officials and technical experts. The EWG will culminate with a BRICS Labour and Employment Minister’s Meeting (LEMM) to be held in September 2023 in which a Ministerial Declaration will be adopted.

Ndebele said out of the first BRICS EWG meetings an innovative concept on BRICS productivity ecosystems was conceived. He said the specific project is still under discussion and will be announced at the labour and employment Ministers meeting in September.

The Department of Employment and Labour is coordinating the labour and employment stream meetings during the Republic of South Africa presidency in 2023.

Key areas of discussion/presentations will focus on: Universal Social Protection and Basic Income Grant; Rapid Evaluation on Social Grants in South Africa case study on Employee rehabilitation in South Africa; Productivity Ecosystems: the South African Experience.

The meetings will be addressed by speakers that include: SA’s Employment and Labour Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi, Department’s Director-General Thobile Lamati, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, Department’s executive committee members, experts from ILO, experts from local academia, international experts and social partners.

A number of guest countries such as Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe have been invited to participate in the BRICS EWG. The African Union is also invited and will share the platform with the International Labour Organization (ILO), African Regional

Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

Media is invited:

The second BRICS EWG labour and employment stream meetings will be held as follows:

Date: 09-12 May 2023
Venue: St. Andrews Hotel, Port Alfred
Time: 08:30am-16:00

For more information, contact:

Teboho Thejane
Departmental Spokesperson
082 697 0694

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