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To the Government of South Africa

  • Amend the immigration law to protect migrants who fall into irregular status because government bureaucracies and agents responsible for workers’ documentation fail to implement the law and carry out their functions.
  • Enforce the procedures for arrest, detention, and deportation by introducing a system for undocumented migrants and co-workers to report officials who engage in unlawful procedures of arrest, detention, and deportation, by further training of officials in the relevant legal procedures, and by investigating and punishing those officials who violate the law.
  • Enforce compliance with the basic conditions of employment law by expanding the labor inspectorate, establishing a hotline for workers’ complaints about alleged labor law violations, and creating incentives for nongovernmental organizations to assist with monitoring and enforcing labor laws.
  • Amend the workers’ compensation law to ensure migrant workers’ access to compensation.
  • Devise a housing policy for farm workers to meet the government’s constitutional obligations, as specified by the Constitutional Court in 2000, to progressively realize the provision of adequate housing.
  • Ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights signed in 1994.
  • Sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and amend domestic laws accordingly.  At minimum, the Immigration Act should be amended to include provisions to:
    • o grant foreign workers tied in terms of their work permits to a specific remunerative activity freedom of choice in jobs after they have resided in the host country lawfully for a specified period (Article 52);

      o grant migrant workers (documented and undocumented) who get deported a reasonable opportunity before or after departure to settle any claims for wages and other entitlements and any pending liabilities (Article 22(6));  and

      o grant migrant workers (documented and undocumented), upon the termination of their stay in South Africa,  the opportunity to transfer their earnings, savings, and personal effects and belongings (Article 32).

  • Address the particular situation of undocumented Zimbabwean migrants by developing a comprehensive approach to the multifaceted problems and human rights abuses arising from their lack of status, and holding discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe about measures to address the conditions that contribute to migration to South Africa.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>August 2006