Analysis: NGOSA CHISUPA
THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) governing body, at its meeting in June 2018, appointed a Zambian professor Evance Kalula, as chairperson of the Governing Body Committee on Freedom of Association. His appointment is for a period of three years (2018-2020). He is the first African to be appointed to this position.
The Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) of the ILO was established in 1951 to study complaints about violations of freedom of association, whether or not the country concerned has ratified the relevant ILO conventions. Freedom of association is a human right that is at the core of ILO values. The CFA is a governing body committee, and is composed of an independent chairperson and three representatives each of governments, employers, and workers.
This is indeed a well-deserved appointment for Professor Kalula who, 36 years ago, served as an intern at ILO.
He is a renowned labour law lawyer who served with distinction at University of Cape Town for over 30 years and recently served as the first African president for the World Employment Relations Body (ILERA) from 2012-2015. He graduated from UNZA, obtained a LLM from Kings College, University of London, and a PhD from the School of Law at the University of Warwick. Whilst at UNZA studying law, he was in the same class with his good friend the late Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa SC.
South Africa is one country that has recognised the abilities of Professor Kalula.
He has previously served on a number of boards and advisory panels: as a member of the Ministerial Economic Advisory Panel in the Department of Economic Development, as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, and on the advisory board of the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory in the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Montreal.
At international and regional levels, he sat on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Commission of Inquiry into complaints of non-observance by Zimbabwe of freedom of association and collective bargaining conventions from 2008 to 2010, and served as chairman of the SA Employment Conditions Commission (2000-2011).
He has served as consultant, expert and resource person for various international organisations, government agencies and trade unions, including the Zambian government, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, BP Africa, the SADC Employment and Labour Sector, and the US Department of Labour.
The author first met Professor Kalula in 2000 in Helderfontein, South Africa, during a meeting of regional social security practitioners.
This meeting was attended by chief executives, policy makers and academics from the SADC region.
At this meeting, Professor Kalula, Professor Guy Mhone (late) and Professor Marius Olivier were instrumental in the setting up of the SADC Core Group of Social Security Experts, which served as an advisory arm SADC on matters of social protection.
This core group has since been transformed into the Southern African Social Protection Experts Network (SASPEN) where he serves as a Trustee.
Professor Kalula, despite working in the diaspora for most of his career, has never forgotten about his country of birth – Zambia. He currently serves on the Alumni Board for former students at the University of Zambia.
He has been pivotal in setting up the governance structure for the UNZA Alumni South Africa Branch Network which was launched in Pretoria in April 2018.
Recently he served as chairperson on the University of Lusaka Council.
The ongoing labour law reforms in Zambia are a model that is being emulated across the SADC region due to Professor Kalula’s prominent role.
In 2012, he produced an issues paper that outlined the road map for implementing labour law reform in Zambia.
This led to the enactment of the Employment Act (Amendment Act) No 15 of 2015 and the drafting of the bills relating to the labour code and social protection that are currently under discussion.
As we congratulate him on this appointment, we celebrate his achievements as Zambians and we wish him well as he flies the Zambian flag higher.
The author is a governance and development policy consultant. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Analysis: NGOSA CHISUPA