Namibia and Child Labour
Child labour is not allowed in Namibia, as in the rest of the world. Namibia’s Labour Act, 2007 (Act 11 of 2007) prohibits and restricts child labour.
What is Child Labour?
According to available information from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are differences as to the many kinds of work that children or young people can do. It should be taken into account that not all work that children do is classified as child labour.
The term “child labour” is often defined as:
- Work that deprives children of their childhood
- Work that deprives children of their potential and their dignity
- Work that is harmful to the physical and mental development of children
- Work that is hazardous to children
The ILO says that child labour varies from country to country and that child labour depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries.
Driven by Poverty
Namibia is one of the countries in southern Africa where, despite it being illegal, child labour does take place. Just as in Malawi, where children are trafficked from one place to another to work on estates, the trend is similar in Namibia.
A report released by the country’s Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in 2010 revealed that there were many child labour cases, mostly fuelled by poverty.
The report quoted parents interviewed randomly in various regions, who said they sent their children to work to earn an income.
However, the report revealed that many children were being paid below the country’s Minimum Wage as employers consider them to be cheap labour.
Namibia’s Labour Act prohibits the employment of a child under the age of 14 years which is an offence.
The offence is punishable by a fine of up to R20 000 or a maximum of four years imprisonment or both.