The author critically examines section 197 of the LRA, a section that has been the subject of much debate. The author discusses the initial 'emasculation' of section 197 by way of judicial interpretation and the reasons for it.
Some of these difficulties were remedied by the decisions of courts of appeal and by legislative amendment. However, the author points out that there are still several difficult questions to be addressed, including the interrelationship between sections 197 and 198 (which deals with temporary employment services) as well as so-called ôsecond-generation contracting-outö. The article concludes by considering the role that section 197 might play in the context of broader labour market change in South Africa as a means of externalising employment.