The Herald (Harare)

Southern Africa: Enhance Integration - Mujuru

Victoria Falls — Sadc countries should standardise their labour practices to enhance regional economic integration and improve the lives, Vice President Joice Mujuru has said.

She made the remarks yesterday while opening the Sadc extraordinary meeting of ministers and social partners responsible for employment and labour.

"There is need, therefore, to work towards the standardisation of labour practices in the region. I am convinced that standardisation of labour practices across the region can be the foundation towards economic integration, since labour and capital are inseparable factors of production," said VP Mujuru.

She said the region's labour markets were the same, making integration more compelling.

"So let's break the convention practices and let labour lead with capital following," she said. "I have a firm relief honourable ministers and representatives of social partners that the employment and labour sector is better positioned to be the champion for regional integration," she said.

VP Mujuru urged the ministers and social partners to prioritise issues of youth employment.

She said Government attached great importance to Sadc and said it would continue to play a befitting role in supporting the labour and employment sector.

VP Mujuru commended the International Labour Organisation for its co-operation and assistance to Zimbabwe through a programme called Training for Rural Economic Empowerment.

ILO assistant director general and regional director for Africa Mr Aeneas Chuma, commended the ministers and social partners for promoting regional integration.

He encouraged governments and social partners to promote policies that facilitate the creation of decent jobs for youths and women.

"Unless bold actions are taken, Africa's youth could become a recipe for social and political instability as witnessed in other countries," he said.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Cde Nicholas Goche said SADC could not develop without productive and thriving private sectors and a vibrant labour movement.

He called upon the ministers and social partners to contribute to the finalisation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan which, once adopted, would be a blueprint for the next five years.

ILO and International Organisation for Migration regional director for Southern Africa, Mr Bernado Mariano, also said his organisation was keen to support the implementation of the policy framework.

He urged member countries to continue working together and identify comprehensive solutions to a wide range of labour migration and related challenges.

More than 150 local and foreign delegates among them 10 ministers of labour, permanent secretaries, directors, senior labour officers, leaders of the employers' confederation of Zimbabwe and president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions are attending the meeting.

Other participants are from Southern African Trade Union Co-ordinating Council and Sadc Private Sector Forum.

The official opening was also attended by Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Cain Mathema and other senior Government officials.

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