Mining is one of the ancient economic activities currently still in operation in most African countries. It’s potential contribution to economic development remains unmatched in that it provides employment to many people. Its establishments promote infrastructural development, thereby boosting other economic activities and social services in mining communities. However, the industry remains largely disproportionate in its workforce demography. Women remain underrepresented in large-scale underground parts of the mining operations. This research critically analyses the South African legal framework in so far as gender transformation in the labour sector (specifically underground mine operations) is concerned. The research appraised specific South African labour legislation such as the Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998, Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995, Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 as well as mining specific, Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 28 of 2002 and the Mining Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry, 2002 (and its successive amendments) among others. The research evaluates the progress facilitated by the existing legal framework since the era of democracy in South Africa. It further presents a summary of how legislation has globally evolved over the years towards the inclusion of women in the industry. The research was conducted through a desk-based literary study of secondary data. The chief research tools included the legislation, journal articles, reported case law, books and other online academic sources for global trends. Based on the findings, the inclusion of South African women in underground mining activities is still marred with challenges ranging from legislative gaps, health and safety related concerns, a lack of innovative infrastructure that accommodates women among others. In this regard, the government and other interested stakeholders need to address the legislative and policy gaps, the infrastructural concerns impeding on the successful inclusion of women through inter alia education and skills development programmes.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2018.