Undocumented workers arrested in Potchefstroom blitz inspections

Friday, July 22, 2022

A joint mega blitz inspection at Potchefstroom, North West, has led to the arrest of several undocumented foreign nationals working at local companies.

The weeklong blitz inspections between the Department of Employment and Labour, Home Affairs, Transport and South African Police Services, turned its attention to the road freight industry, where four undocumented foreign nationals were arrested during a roadblock along the busy N12 route on Thursday.

The arrests follow the arrest of seven undocumented foreign nationals, who were arrested on Wednesday at a local company. All are expected to appear in the Potchefstroom Magistrate’s Court.

Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi and Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi led a team of inspectors in the North West Province on a mega blitz inspection targeting the Road freight and Logistics; Iron and Steel; and Manufacturing sectors around Potchefstroom in the JB Marks Municipality.

During the blitz inspections, which started on Wednesday, a number of workplaces and trucks were inspected, and the department was looking for compliance with Labour Legislation, including Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, Unemployment Insurance (UI) Act, Compensation Fund (CF) Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the National Minimum Wage Act.

Speaking at the roadblock, Nxesi said through the inspections, the department wanted to see the level of compliance with labour laws, ranging from the Basic Conditions of Employment Act to Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as observance of the National Minimum Wage.

“We have already found that several truck drivers are undocumented – are not paid in terms of the collective agreements and are not registered for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). We are warning employers to ensure that they abide by the labour laws or face the music,” Nxesi said.

The Minister said the operation was a sequel to the commitment by a number of ministers last month to intensify the programme of action to deal with the employment of undocumented foreign nationals.

Colonel Thabo Mahlangu said his team was able to arrest the undocumented foreign nationals during an intensive two-hour operation.

Department’s Acting Chief Inspector, Phumi Maphaha, expressed his disappointment following the inspection at Chubby Chick on Wednesday, where the company failed to produce the certificate of compliance in terms of the ammonia stored at the plant.

Maphaha said the company had promised to ensure its availability within 24 hours, and his team was happy with the functioning condition of boilers.

Maphaha also expressed concern that firefighting equipment had been stolen, which may pose a major risk should a fire break out at the plant.

“The medical surveillance unit had issued a number of notices which will be followed up,” he said. 

The inspections will end on Friday with the spotlight turning to manufacturing sector. – SAnews.gov.za