1 Aug 2016    Working Papers

South African Labour Law: A Twenty-Year Assessment

r4d Working Paper 2016/06 by Paul Benjamin, assisted by Carole Cooper


Labour law is the product of the balance of political and economic forces in a society. The election of South Africa’s first democratic government in 1994 created the conditions under which a progressive labour law framework, reflective of international standards, was enacted. However, the absence of economic transformation, in particular rising levels of unemployment and inequality, has dominated dialogue over the need to revise these laws. This paper examines the different phases of the legislative development of labour law in post-apartheid South Africa over the last two decades, highlighting the positions articulated by the different social partners. 

South African Labour Law: A Twenty-Year Assessment