South Africa's labour legislation framework promulgated during the past 2 decades & is regarded as some of the most comprehensive in the world. Currently, it has done much to redress the imbalances of the past. With 4 significant Acts promulgated to manage & regulate labor relations in our country, there are still areas lagging behind that have a profound influence on the country's economic performance.
After our 1st democratic elections of 1994, there was a clear need for radical change in South Africa's socioeconomic & political order. The new government was confronted by significant institutional transformation & the introduction of new policies in line with the Constitution. It was also necessary to integrate the country into a rapidly changing global environment. Labor relations were important in engineering the much-needed transformation & policy changes. The government started to democratize society based on the principles of equality, non-racialism & non-sexism. In line with the Interim Constitution, Act 200 of 1993, new policies & programs were put in place to improve the quality of life of all people. In the Constitution Act 108 of 1996, equitable labor relations were formally recognized as a fundamental right in line with protection provided to all workers in advanced democracies throughout the world.
Thabo Mbeki was the executive face of government in SA from 1994. During Mbeki’s time in office the economy grew on average by 4.5% per year. He created employment in the middle sectors of the economy & oversaw a fast-growing black middle class with the implementation of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). This growth exacerbated the demand for trained professionals strained by emigration due to violent crime, but failed to address unemployment amongst the unskilled bulk of the population. He attracted the bulk of Africa's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and made SA the focal point of African growth. He was the architect of NEPAD whose aim is to develop an integrated socio-economic development framework for Africa. He also oversaw the successful building of economic bridges to BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations with the eventual formation of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum to further political consultation and co-ordination as well as strengthening sectoral co-operation & economic relations.
In 1995, the International Conference for People Living with HIV & AIDS was held in SA. At the time Mbeki was Deputy President & in his official capacity acknowledged the seriousness of the epidemic. In 2000, the Department of Health outlined a five-year plan to combat AIDS, HIV and sexually transmitted infections. A National AIDS Council was established to oversee the implementation of the plan. However, after becoming President, Mbeki changed tack & represented the views of a small group of pseudo scientists who claimed that AIDS wasn’t caused by HIV. On the 9th of July 2000, at the International AIDS Conference in...