Africa reportedly has the highest incidence of child labour in the world. To respond to this problem, some
scholars recommend an outright ban on child labour through legislation. In this regard, most African
countries, including South Africa (SA), have enacted legislation directed at banning child labour. However,
legislation directed at banning child labour may impact negatively on certain fundamental rights of children.
This is because child labour is sometimes a source of income for many children who may themselves have
‘dependants’. For instance, for children in desperate need, adherence to laws which have the effect of
depriving them of basic necessities including food, housing and water is unrealistic, inadequate and totally
ineffective. A notable example is with regard to orphaned children. Taking such children out of employment
is counter-productive as they are left with no means of survival. On the other hand, though child labour
contributes to the survival of many children and their families in Africa, it impacts negatively on fundamental
rights of children. Some of these rights include the right to education, health, leisure, among others.
Therefore, regardless of the circumstances that compel children to engage in child labour, it remains a
problem that needs to be addressed through appropriate approaches. This study stresses that the
approaches adopted need to be cognizant of the diverse circumstances under which children engage in
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2011.