Appraisal of Selected Themes on the Impact of International Standards on Labour and Social Security Law in South Africa


  • Itumeleng Tshoose University of Limpopo



International Labour Organisation, international standards, decent work, social justice, social security, labour standards, human rights, South African courts


For many years, South African courts have relied on International Labour Organisation conventions to interpret and give meaning to the fundamental social security and labour law rights enshrined in the Constitution, 1996. Social security and labour law has been one of the ILO's major initiatives of promoting decent work agenda since its inception in 1919. Decent work refers to the availability of employment in conditions of freedom, justice, security and human dignity. This is a multidimensional concept introduced by the ILO in 1999. It has four key components, namely, employment conditions, social security, workplace rights and social dialogue. To this end, the preamble to the ILO Constitution sets out several objectives in this regard, including the protection of workers from illness, accidents, the protection of children, women, and the support of the elderly. The ILO pursues these noble values and goals by developing international labour and social security standards, which member states must ratify and incorporate into their national law. The purpose of these ILO standards is to provide a standard framework or regulatory tool to guide member states in establishing, improving and maintaining social security and labour law systems domestically, regionally and internationally. Against this background, this article examines selected themes on the impact of international standards on labour and social security rights enshrined in the Constitution. It looks at some of the relevant international instruments which have influenced the promotion and protection of these rights. Furthermore, it shows how the courts have infused these standards into their judgments in South Africa.


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How to Cite

Tshoose, I. (2022). Appraisal of Selected Themes on the Impact of International Standards on Labour and Social Security Law in South Africa. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 25, (Published 3 June 2022) pp 1 – 43.




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