Labour Minister Oliphant meets Chinese Minister Yin Weimin in Cape Town to cement friendship

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and her Chinese counterpart Yin Weimin had a fruitful meeting in Cape Town on Monday where they were meeting to discuss issues ranging from human resource development to employment services as a follow-up to their engagement in the People’s Republic of China last year.

The meeting agreed in principle to see the two parties concluding and signing a cooperation agreement in the following areas:

  • Strategies and programmes that would enhance the provision of employment services;
  • Strengthening of labour inspection services;
  • Social security (Unemployment Insurance and Compensation of Employees);
  • Employment programmes to meet the challenges of the labour market and globalisation;
  • Such other areas as may be agreed upon in writing by the parties.

In addressing Minister Weimin, Oliphant said, “During my visit to China in August 2013, we learned a lot about your labour market and visited institutions of interest to us.  Key amongst them was the Public Employment Centre in Haidian District where I was quite impressed with the advanced digital display-wall reflecting by the second updates on vacancies.  We are still grappling with resources to enable us to reach that level as a country.”

Weimin said, “The purpose of our visit, is to promote our exchanges in the fields of human resources and employment services between South Africa and China.”  He also made reference to China being confronted with similar challenges and have taken similar measures to address unemployment in their country.

Oliphant said, “Youth unemployment remains a huge challenge globally and domestically we similarly face the same challenge.  We have observed that more and more young people find it difficult to access work opportunities.  Government is however mitigating through active labour market programmes such as Learnerships, Expanded Public Works Programme and other targeted initiatives like the Youth Accord and Youth Incentive.”

Oliphant said, “One of the impressive experiences from our visit to your country was the electronic filing PES Centre in Haidian District.  I am thus very keen for two delegations of Departmental Officials (one from Unemployment Insurance Fund and Compensation Commission and Public Employment Services whilst the other from Inspection and Enforcement Services and internal IT) to embark on visit to your country to explore IT systems, their governance service delivery models and business processes.”

Oliphant said that during the sixth BRICS Summit held in Fortaleza, Brazil, this past July, the leaders agreed that Labour and Employment, Social Security and Social Inclusion Public Policies Forum be explored as a new area of focus.  She said she is aware of informal discussions of officials in Geneva with a view to formalise agreements in this Forum.  The Minister said she was keen that this initiative be supported to ensure that labour and employment issues also get the proper recognition within BRICS’s processes.

The Minister’s delegation included her deputy, Inkosi Pathekile Holomisa, acting director-general Sam Moratoba, and acting deputy director-general, Labour Policy, Thembinkosi Mkalipi.

Photo caption: Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant (right) and her Chinese counterpart Yin Weimin.