South Africa, Germany sign agreement on labour issues

28th February 2024 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The South African Department of Employment and Labour announced on Wednesday that it had signed a Joint Declaration of Interest (JDI) with Germany’s Labour and Social Affairs Department. The JDI coveres four main areas: exchanges regarding general labour market practices, exchanges regarding social protections (“Labour Activation Programmes”), regular exchanges regarding possible common positions to be adopted at the International Labour Organisation and the G20 (Group of 20 major economies, including the European Union, plus the African Union), and exchanges regarding sustainable global value chains.

The JDI was signed in South Africa by the country’s Employment and Labour Deputy Minister, Boitumelo Moloi, and Germany’s Labour and Social Affairs Deputy Minister Anette Kramme. The two agreed to the creation of joint working groups to handle matters arising from the cooperation. Further, any disagreements that arose within the framework of the JDI would be resolved through diplomatic consultation and negotiation.

“I eagerly anticipate our discussions and the collective strides we will make towards advancing our shared objectives,” affirmed Moloi. “We are honoured to host you [Kramme] as we formalise our fraternal bilateral relations dating back to when we were re-engineering our policies under the Skills Development dispensation. We remain grateful for our collaboration with Germany which has enabled us to improve services to our people.”

She further affirmed that the signing of the JDI was a tangible step forward in developing partnerships that would endure. She also called on local officials to develop programmes, with timetables, to implement the JDI.

Kramme stated that the JDI should result in tangible deliverables and not be merely a piece of paper. Germany, she pointed out, was eager to see the agreement implemented immediately, to reinforce the partnership, for the benefit of both sides.

“I hope preliminary discussions on an implementation plan, anchored through mutual consultation and agreement, have already commenced,” said Moloi. “Priority should be given to youth employment and provision of opportunities to our young people. We propose extending [the] internship programme to send our young people to different economic sectors in Germany to gain valuable experience.”