SA child travel law may affect small businesses owned by women

The public protector says the new child travel regulations may affect small businesses run by women.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says the Home Affairs Department's new laws on child travel could have unintended consequences on small businesses run by women.

The new requirements, stipulating that minors traveling to and from South Africa must have an unabridged birth certificate, came into effect in June.

Madonsela says many female entrepreneurs in South Africa own micro businesses, which require them to travel out of the country to buy goods, often taking their children along.

The public protector was speaking at the Pan African Parliament Women's Conference where she addressed the need to improve the economic standing of African women.

Madonsela says while the tighter regulations around child travel have been implemented with good intentions, they run the risk of affecting the economic empowerment of South African women.

She says more female entrepreneurs conduct business trips with their children in tow, compared to their male their male counterparts.

"You pass a law that says you need a birth certificate that is unabridged, as we have done in South Africa. I know for a fact that it has harmed women."

Madonsela has told delegates that while some policies don't appear to have any link to female economic empowerment, there are often unexpected setbacks.