Allow workers to vote, urges Oliphant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has appealed to employers to allow workers to exercise their democratic right and cast their votes on Election Day on Wednesday.

“I want to remind all employers that in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, overtime work is voluntary and it’s unlawful for any employer to force an employee to work overtime without the employees’ consent unless entities that in whole or in part have been declared essential services wherein workers on that day will be performing essential service,” Oliphant said.

Her remarks follow numerous complaints received by the Department of Labour that certain employers want to force workers to work on Election Day.

“If you force employees to work on Election Day, note that you are violating and denying them their constitutional and democratic right to vote. I therefore, encourage employers to release workers on Wednesday 8 May 2019 to go and exercise their democratic and constitutional right in casting their vote,” Oliphant said.

The Election Day was recently declared a public holiday by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The President urged South African employers to observe 8 May 2019 the day of National and Provincial elections, as a public holiday and encourage staff to use the day to exercise their right to vote.

The proclamation was published in the Government Gazette.

Forty eight political parties will be contesting the national elections, with 26 727 921 people expected to cast their votes.

Voting will start from 7am and end at 9pm. The Independent Electoral Commission is expected to release the final result on Saturday afternoon. –