Labour Reform in South Africa: Measuring Regulation and a Synthesis of Policy Suggestions

"Even though the South African economy is formally categorised as an upper-middle income country, it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. The economy’s unemployment rate stands officially at 26.7 per cent and 38.8 per cent. This characteristic, more than any other, has placed market regulation high on the agenda of pertinent policy issues in South Africa. This paper, then, in trying to mature the debate on labour regulation and worker protection, has two key objectives. Firstly, we attempt to provide more nuanced and empirically-based measures of labour regulation and worker protection for South Africa, within an international comparative context. Secondly, we attempt a legal overview of some of the key legislative and institutional challenges that exist within the South African labour market. We also attempt an overview of the evidence relating to the degree of actual and perceived rigidity within the South African labour market. The evidence utilised will hopefully add value to the debates thus far on the extent and nature of labour regulation in South Africa."