A marathon four day SA DOL law, inspection and policy conference in Boksburg in March 2012 was not attended by SA Labour minister Mildred Oliphant, despite being scheduled to address 400 inspectors, state staff, private OHS consultants, auditors, trainers and media for the first time since taking office more than a year ago.
Minister Oliphant’s address was read by DOL director general Nkosinathi Nhleko, who asked employers and organised labour for a commitment to reach full compliance.
SA Labour inspection strategy
Department of Labour inspections are planned according to business and industrial sectors. These high risk industries are prioritised for inspection in 2012;
* food and beverage
* iron and steel
* forestry and agriculture.
Inspectors are also involved in police and tax revenue teams cracking down on employers of illegal immigrants.
The DOL director general said they are working with labour unions and professional bodies like Engineering Council, SACPCMP, OH body Saioh and OH nursing body Sasohn to identify employers in contravention of labour legislation.
“We have a sense of mission”, read the prepared policy speech, citing words attributed to Zulu king Shaka as he built an empire on military strength, while eliminating enemies and competitors alike. “Our aim is zero non-compliance.”
Labour officials clarified the absolute goal by a proverb; “Those who have ears, let them hear.” DOL is raising its inspection capacity by continuing recruitment, training and rentention of generalist labour inspectors, a process ongoing for sseveral years.
African labour inspectors report to ILO
International Labour Organisation (ILO) DWT Limpho Mandoro, who is based in Pretoria, speaking on ILO Labour Inspection Convention 1947, number 81, titled ‘An international framework for effective labour market governance’, advised SA labour inspectors to;
• recruit inspectors only on qualifications and personal qualities required for performance of their duties
• set recruitment procedures
• provide adequate training in-service.
The ILO requires labour inspectors, on their part, to observe standards of conduct like;
• Obligation to carry out duties with complete independence, discretion and impartiality in order to enjoy the trust of employers and workers.
• No interests or family ties to enterprises under their supervision.
• No emotional, political or personal interest to compromise integrity of professional conduct.
• Duty not to reveal information protected by industrial or commercial property rights.
• Exceptions include notification of information to the police or judicial authorities to prosecute a violation of the law.
• Duty to treat sources of information as confidential.
Labour departments in all countries, including African countries, should report their activities and findings to their state, local business, and labour, and to the ILO, including;
• Number of workplaces visited
• Number of inspection carried out
• Penalties imposed
• Situation regarding OSH
• Annual report by the central authority
• Number of inspectors disaggregated by gender
• Geographical distribution
• Area of specialization by branch of inspection
• Copy to be submitted to the ILO director general.
PHOTO; SA Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant’s address was read by DOL director general Nkosinathi Nhleko, who asked employers and organised labour for a commitment to reach ‘zero non-compliance’.