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Africans Offer Different Lenses On the Future of Work On a World Stage

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Geneva — South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has served all three legs that make up the International Labour Organization (ILO) – representing at one time or another, workers, employers and now the government.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based ILO is the only tripartite UN agency. Founded in 1919, it brings together governments, employers and workers and it is celebrating its centenary this year.

This week Ramaphosa introduced the ILO’s forward-looking report from the Global Commission on the Future of Work, which some observers noted will be easier to integrate into the developed world than in developing and poorer nations.

As a former national trade union leader and later employer, before he became president, Ramaphosa was appointed to co-chair the ILO commission in May 2018, along with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

Also attending the launch was another South African, Mthunzi Mdwaba, the employers’ vice-chairperson on the ILO Governing Body. Representing the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), which at 99 years is slightly younger than the ILO, he is the first African to serve as global spokesperson for the world’s employers.

‘Labour is not a robot’

Ramaphosa stopped over in Geneva on his way to the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, to introduce the future of work report on the ILO’s 100th anniversary.

He called on governments to commit to measures to address the challenges caused by an “unprecedented transformational change in the world of work”. He said that “In the 20th century, we established that ‘labour is not a commodity’. In the 21st century, we must ensure it is not a robot.

“Targeted private and public sector investment, coupled with the right technology, can create millions of new, decent, sustainable jobs in the green economy, the care economy, infrastructure development, and rural areas,” he added.

“In short, the future of our societies depends on how we deal with the challenges and opportunities related to the world of work. We need to reorient policies as well as actions to deliver a human-centred agenda, which is what this report basically focuses on,” Ramaphosa. stressed.

Answering questions, the president spoke of the importance of the motor industry in South Africa, noting that the number of workers had reduced due to robots.

“We are now involved in a real, serious conversation with the automakers about how best we can limit the loss of jobs… as a result of robots being deployed,” he said.

Mdwaba, born in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, is CEO of TZoro IBC, a global strategic investment consultancy and vice-president of the IOE, which represents 50 million companies.

He had a different take to Ramaphosa’s on the future of work report.

He said the report captured the positive tone and aspirations of the Global Commission by recognising the remarkable opportunities that advanced technologies offer. But, he added in an interview: “It is questionable whether the governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations can have the ability to implement such proposals.”

Report recommendations

A Universal Labour Guarantee, social protection from birth to old age and entitlement to lifelong learning are among 10 recommendations made in the Commission’s Report on the Future of Work outlined by Ramaphosa.

Mthunzi said the Universal Labour Guarantee, universal social protection from birth to old age and universal entitlement to lifelong learning would be very costly, although the IOE is aware the investment may be necessary.

He critiqued the report for having no concrete recommendations aimed at improving the business environment or promoting business dynamism and investment.

“We are saying the investment agenda needs to be underpinned by a supportive business climate and incentives for long-term financing. So, we are calling for a better arrangement of the enabling environment for business success with the conditions for implementation of the human centred agenda, mentioned in the report.”

Crucial role of private sector

“The private sector has a critical role in realising the human-centred agenda to the full,” said Mthunzi. The private sector had some mentions in the report, “but they do not go far enough.”

On South Africa, he said, “we have impressive labour legislation. Yet, for me, the biggest frustrations in South Africa is that we keep introducing labour law after labour law because we failed to implement, monitor and police the last labour law that we had.”

South Africa does not do regulatory impact assessments, he said, thus “creates a rigidity that that is unworkable for the employer.”

Mdwaba also said that unlike some other African countries South Africa keeps sliding down the global competitive index in an environment that ignores productivity.

“Productivity is not mentioned once in our national development plan, a plan which, the president mentions a lot. Productivity needs to be taken seriously,” said Mdwaba.

He also said the much of the corruption mentioned that has come to light recently in South Africa comes from within the governing African National Congress and those connected to it.

The IOE vice-president observed that the official unemployment rate in South Africa rose to 27.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018, around a level that has remained consistent since the early 2000s.

Answering a press conference question, Ramaphosa dealt with how South Africa hopes to draw the investment needed to get people to work.

“We’ll be taking a message to Davos to say, we have been through a very difficult nine-year period. In some ways, we departed from the ethos and the values that had defined us as a nation, particularly under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. As a nation, we are humble enough to admit that.

“In the recent past corruption had run rife in South Africa”, and the country had departed from its principles. “We are in a period of renewal,” he added, and the government was engaging with both labour and business.”

“Now we have a resurgent South Africa,” Ramaphosa proclaimed before moving on to Davos.

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Police And Demonstrators Clash, Ending Stretch Of Calm : NPR

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Police and pro-democracy demonstrators clashed during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday. The protests in Hong Kong started in June over an unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

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Police and pro-democracy demonstrators clashed during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday. The protests in Hong Kong started in June over an unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

Vincent Yu/AP

After a stretch of relative peace in Hong Kong, a standoff between protesters and riot police became violent again on Saturday.

Police fired tear gas after pro-democracy demonstrators blocked roads with barricades made of bamboo sticks and hurled bricks, in the district of Kwun Tong.

In a statement, police said protesters paralyzed traffic and affected emergency services in the area near a police station.

Protesters tore down and dismantled “smart lamp posts” out of a fear that they contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by authorities in China.

Some used an electric saw, attempting to slice through the bottom of the lamppost, while others tied a rope around it to successfully bring it crashing to the ground, the Associated Press reported.

The government in Hong Kong insists that the lampposts only collect data on weather, air quality and traffic, according to the AP.

There are plans to install about 400 of these smart lampposts over a three-year period, according to a government report.

Demonstrators try to pull down a smart lamppost during the protest in Hong Kong on Saturday that turned violent. The smart lampposts are raising fears of stepped-up surveillance from authorities.

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Demonstrators try to pull down a smart lamppost during the protest in Hong Kong on Saturday that turned violent. The smart lampposts are raising fears of stepped-up surveillance from authorities.

Kin Cheung/AP

The latest skirmish marked the 12th straight weekend of demonstrations in Hong Kong and ended nearly two weeks of relative calm, according to the AP.

Just a day before, thousands of Hong Kongers held hands and formed human chains, in a peaceful bid to gain support from the international community, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reported.

On Saturday, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam expressed a desire to open a dialogue on Facebook.

“I don’t expect that dialogue will be able to easily untangle this knot, stop the demonstrations or provide a solution to the problem,” Lam wrote. “But continuing to fight is not a way out.”

“After more than two months, everyone is tired. Can we sit down and talk about it?” she wrote.

Just a few hours later, protests in Kwun Tong turned violent, according to the New York Times.

The protests in Hong Kong originally began in June over a bill that would have allowed some extraditions of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. The bill sparked a backlash among those who saw it as a violation of the “one country, two systems” agreement that was formed in 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China from the British.

The bill has since been shelved but it’s not formally dead. Hong Kong’s government indefinitely suspended the legislation in June but hasn’t withdrawn it entirely from the legislative process.

The demands from the movement have since expanded and now include calls to investigate excessive police violence during the demonstrations and a more transparent and open government.

Also on Saturday, Simon Cheng, a worker from the British Consulate in Hong Kong, was released after being detained in mainland China.

Cheng disappeared on a business trip in mainland China two weeks ago amid the rising tensions between Beijing and London.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Cheng’s detention had anything to do with Britain’s support of the pro-democracy protests, NPR’s Scott Neuman reported.

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EPL live scores and result

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You can find our lives cores at the bottom of this preview.

Early Premier League leaders Liverpool and
Arsenal face-off at Anfield on Saturday where one of the only two remaining 100
percent records in the Premier League will go.

 The
European champions will hope to continue a fine recent record against the north
Londoners.

Jurgen Klopp has never lost in seven
previous Premier League meetings against Arsenal and his side have beaten the
Gunners 4-0 and 5-1 at home in the past two seasons.

However, Unai Emery’s outfit are hoping a
busy summer in the transfer window, while Liverpool did not strengthen, will
have significantly narrowed the 27-point gap between the sides last season.

Emery could hand a first start to £72
million ($87 million) club record signing Nicolas Pepe, while on-loan Real
Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos earned rave reviews by creating both goals on
his full debut against Burnley last weekend.

This can 
be seen as an early opportunity for veteran centre-back David Luiz to
make his mark by halting the free-scoring trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino
and Mohamed Salah, who combined for all five Liverpool goals when the sides
last met.

The Gunners 
have some outstanding finishers of their own. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,
who shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mane and Salah last season, has
scored his side’s winner in the first two games of the campaign

English Premier League live scores on 23-25 August

Get the latest English Premier League scores below. Get fixtures and results from all the weekend’s English Premier League matches here.

Scores will be live at kick off.

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WRAP: Absa Premiership | Sport24

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Cape Town – A comprehensive wrap of all the kick-off times, results and match reports for the weekend’s Absa Premiership matches:

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

Golden Arrows 2-1 Chippa United

Black Leopards 1-1 Highlands Park

Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United – 18:00

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25

Stellenbosch FC v Maritzburg United – 15:00

Baroka FC v Bloemfontein Celtic – 15:00



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