Child Labour Laws in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe: A Comparative Analysis

  • Beauty Vambe University of South Africa
  • Amos Saurombe University of South Africa
Keywords: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, child labour, child work, International Labour Organization, child sex workers, child farm workers, child trafficking, independent supranational organisation, progressive laws


This article reports on a study that investigated the effectiveness of child labour laws intended to promote child rights and the protection of children from unfair and forced labour. Legal scholars distinguish between child work and child labour: forced child labour manifests itself in abusing children sexually, forcing children to work on farms, and compromising children’s rights to education. Although South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia have laws in place to protect children from child labour, the abuse of children continues in these countries. Furthermore, although these three countries are signatories to conventions of the International Labour Organisation that seek to eliminate child labour, they have been unable to stem the tide of child labour. This article argues that there is a need for the three countries to work closely together to implement policies that reverse or fight against child labour. The researchers used a qualitative methodology to interpret the variations in the application of child labour laws. They found there are no harmonised laws to deal with child labour in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Hence, this article recommends that an independent supranational organisation be established in Southern Africa to monitor, evaluate, and implement progressive laws to eradicate child labour in line with internationally recognised best practices as set out in child labour laws.

Author Biographies

Beauty Vambe, University of South Africa

Department of Mercantile Law, Institute for Dispute Resolution


Amos Saurombe, University of South Africa
Department of Mercantile Law
How to Cite
Vambe, Beauty, and Amos Saurombe. 2019. “Child Labour Laws in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe: A Comparative Analysis”. Commonwealth Youth and Development 16 (1), 16 pages.