Labour inspectors, Hawks raid illegal factories

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Department of Employment and Labour, in conjunction with Home Affairs Immigration Officers, and the Hawks, on Wednesday raided two factories in Johannesburg, which were suspected of flouting labour laws.

According to the Department Employment and Labour, the owners who mostly are Chinese, were suspected, among others, of flouting labour laws and employing foreign nationals who do not have work permits.

During the raids, the Immigration Officers verified the status of the employees, while the Department of Labour Inspectors conducted workplace inspection, checking compliance with labour laws.

In both factories raided, the authorities were shocked to discover the appalling conditions which the employees were working under.

According to the workers interviewed by the authorities, they worked long hours and once they were inside the factory, they were not allowed to go outside and they were not allowed to take leave.

Some of the workers told the authorities that they are paid R1 600 a month.

They also told the authorities that were paid R1 for every pillow they produced.

During the raid at the second factory which manufactures blankets, it was found that factory owners had employed foreign nationals who do not have work permits and did not have valid passports.

It was also discovered that the employees were paid below the minimum wage stipulated by the Department of Labour.

The employees were working under horrible conditions and the factory did not comply with safety standards, among other things.

Department of Employment and Labour Inspector-General Aggy Moiloa told SAnews that since the raid is being conducted jointly with Home Affairs, those found to be in the country illegally will be detained and sent back to their countries of origin.

Most of the employees at the factory are from Malawi.

“We got a tip-off from the Hawks about the factories that are flouting labour laws and we immediately arranged to raid these factories,” Moiloa said.

Moiloa told SAnews that they are still going to conduct other raids in the factories that are suspected to be flouting labour laws.

The owners of the two factories were issued with fines and they are expected to appear in court soon.

In the second factory that was raided, officials found that Occupational Health and Safety laws were completely disregarded; the employees were working long hours in dangerous conditions.

The authorities had issued the second factory a fine and closed it down.

Department of Employment and Labour Inspectors are appointed in terms of section 63 (1) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997, as amended to monitor and enforce labour laws.

The inspectors visit workplaces from time to time to check the level of compliance with labour legislation. –