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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Media Statement: SAHRC Reflects on Workers Rights this Workers Day

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Friday, 1 May 2020

The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission or the SAHRC) notes the significance of Worker’s Day, celebrated on the 1st May in South Africa. The Day should be seen as a celebration and well deserved rest for those who honestly and positively add to society through their economic activity.

Under the current national disaster declared by government, in terms of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, the ensuing lockdown conditions have left many without the opportunity to work or participate in income generating activities in an effort to feed, clothe or continue to provide shelter for themselves and loved ones. The easing of lockdown conditions, by moving to stage four on the 1st May 2020 (being Worker’s Day) as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, comes as welcome relief for many.

The Commission also wishes to use this opportunity to thank all the workers in our country who have helped to keep our economy running and our country functioning under these challenging times of Covid-19. The Commission pays special acknowledgment to health and safety workers who on daily basis face the risk of Covid-19 whilst caring for those infected by the virus and in keeping our people safe.

The SAHRC also takes note of economic challenges worsened by the recent downgrades by international rating agencies that will not only affect the rights of many workers but also limit the rights of many of our people to work and look after themselves and their loved ones. The Commission is indeed deeply concerned by Premier of Gauteng – the economic hub of South Africa – David Makhura’s prediction, that between 250 000 and 600 000 jobs will be lost in the Province alone. It is thus important that the government and all relevant stakeholders work together to reverse the trend of negative economic growth and ensure better management of our economy.

For the Commission, the circumstances surrounding the lockdown and the socio-economic impact accompanied by it, thrust into focus worker’s rights and the innate right to earning a dignified income.

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Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

Braampark Forum 3, 33 Hoofd Street, Braamfontein

011 877 3600 (Switchboard)

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