South Africa

Core Facts

  • Population:  55M
  • GDP:  USD 315 billion
  • GDP per head:  USD 7,586
  • Workforce: 9.7M
  • Unemployment (2017):  26.5%
  • Average high skilled monthly wages (2017):  USD 1,520


South African Labour Law has been undergoing a significant period of change following the abolition of the apartheid system. In 1995 the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) was formed. Its role is to vet all labour related legislation and following the election of the ANC to Government, the Labour Relations Act came into effect in 1996. This Act together with Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 and the Employment Equity Act 1998 (the EEA) form the main labour law legislation in South Africa. The EEA is worth noting in particular as it recognises the fundamental disadvantages caused to certain groups of people in South Africa by the apartheid system and for these reasons introduces compulsory affirmative action plans for employers to help redress the imbalance.