Zambia, South Africa sign MoU to protect migrant workers

ZAMBIA and South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which seeks to protect the interests of their nationals working across the two countries.

The MoU which was signed in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday this week was aimed at defining the basis for institutional relations under which cooperation would be developed between the two countries in the fields of employment, labour and social security.

Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda signed on behalf of the Zambian Government while his counterpart, Mildred Oliphant, Minister for the Department of Labour signed on behalf of the South African Government.

Mr. Shamenda said the signing of the MoU enhanced the strategic co-operation and partnership on employment, labour and social security between the two countries to which Zambia was fully committed.

“I want to appreciate and acknowledge that our countries have many things in common and have a lot to share and learn from each other for our mutual benefit. South Africa has made many heavy investments in Zambia and the two countries have enjoyed healthy investment and trade relations.

“There are many South Africans working in Zambia while South Africa also hosts a lot of Zambian migrant workers and this demonstrates our mutual interests,” Mr. Shamenda said.

He said Zambia had relaxed legislation on citizenship by allowing for dual citizenship so that those who found themselves with only one choice were now free to choose countries.

Mr Shamenda noted that there had been in the recent past an emergence of common challenges such as global supply chains, transitioning from the informal to the formal economy and labour migration and that these challenges could only be overcome through strengthened cooperation, collaboration and team work.

And Ms. Oliphant referred to South African President, Jacob Zuma, whom she said had emphasised before that such warm historical ties between the two countries should translate into stronger economic, social and developmental relations.

Ms. Oliphant said the signing of this MoU sought to ensure that the relations between the two countries remained stronger as both countries continued with the quest for social justice and the betterment of the people.

“South Africa will always remain indebted to Zambia for the selfless support in the struggle against apartheid and the role the country played would always be remembered as the two countries forge ahead to ensure that the fruits of the liberation South Africa fought for were experienced by the citizens and, most importantly, workers of the two countries,” Ms. Oliphant said.

She added that the MoU should also seek to protect the interests of Zambian nationals working in South Africa irrespective of whether they were legally or illegally in the country.