Comments Sought on GBV Draft Code in South Africa

Stakeholders in workplaces in South Africa have until 21 October 2020 to submit comments on the Draft Code of Good Practice on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace.

The Code provides a framework on the interpretation and implementation of the Employment Equity Act pertaining to violence and harassment, including gender-based violence (GBV) in the world of work.

It also provides guidelines to employers, employees, employer organisations and unions on how to deal with violence and harassment in the world of work.

The Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) Commissioner, Dr Annelie Gildenhuys, said the code will have an impact on everyone.

“The draft published in August brings clarity to the country in defining what an employer is, the legal framework and principles, and what violence and harassment are. It also offers guidelines on strategies to deal with violence and harassment,” Gildenhuys explained.

The Department of Employment and Labour said South Africa has not yet ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 190.

Convention 190 recognises the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

In January 2020, Uruguay was the first country in the world to ratify Convention 190, which recognises that violence and harassment at work can constitute a human rights violation.

The new Convention and Recommendation were adopted at the International Labour Conference in June 2019.

“South Africa agrees with the convention. There are now new forms of bullying through online channels. Violence and harassment is not only physical — it also includes psychological and emotional abuse,” Gildenhuys said.

The new Code will also apply to the informal sector.

The Labour Relations Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act, respectively, describe violence as a form of misconduct, and violence and harassment as a health and safety occupational.

Employment Equity workshops

The Department of Employment and Labour is currently conducting the 2020 Employment Equity (EE) roadshows in the form of workshops throughout the country.

The workshops started last week Monday in the Northern Cape, and on Wednesday in Mpumalanga. The virtual EE workshops will end in Gauteng on 20 October 2020.

This year’s workshops have been streamlined for each province to have a single session.

The objective of the workshops is to:

  • Publicise the status of employment equity in each province, as reflected in the 20th Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) Annual Report;
  • Solicit public comments on the published Draft Code of Good Practice on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work; and
  • Advocate for online EE reporting.

The workshops also aim to create awareness on compliance with the Employment Equity Act, share the most current information and help prepare employers to submit accurate EE reports.

The target audience for the virtual workshops includes, but is not limited to, employers and their employer organisations; human resources executives and practitioners; EE Forum members; assigned senior managers/transformation managers; academics; employees and trade unions; labour relations practitioners, and civil society organisations, among others.

The remaining virtual workshops will be held from 10am to 12pm on 12 October in Limpopo, 13 October in the Free State, 15 October in KwaZulu-Natal, 16 October in the Eastern Cape, 19 October in the Western Cape and 20 October in Gauteng.

In order to participate in the EE virtual workshops, confirm attendance via email to and

The Microsoft Teams Link will be sent through upon confirmation of attendance a day before the actual workshop.

Meanwhile, the deadline for 2020 EE reporting for manual and online submissions opened on 1 September 2020. Manual submissions closed on 1 October 2020 and online submissions will close on 15 January 2021. –