Posted on: March 8, 2012 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

SA Department of Labour inspectors and police closed an employer, and warned 24 others in a blitz on illegal immigrant workers in Johannesburg in March 2012.

SA DOL issued 24 businesses with written warnings for contravening the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, including underpaying workers, while 24 illegal immigrants were arrested at inspected workplaces.

Labour inspectors, police, immigration officials, traffic police and the South African Revenue Services (SARS) conducted a joint inspection against illegal business operations.

Errant employers were given 21 days to comply. “They were issued with written undertakings to comply with, or risk being dragged to court,” he said.

More joint inspections with SAPS, Home Affairs, SARS and Metro Police in the province could be expected, said DOL.

Gauteng Department of Labour official Mishack Magakwe said notices of non-compliance were issued, to be followed up by further inspections.

The blitz was conducted in early March, while most DOL policy makers and inspectors were attending a major four day DOL health and safety conference on compliance and OHS management in nearby Boksburg, themed on ‘road towards zero’.

Some illegal immigrant employees were working without contracts, pay slips or attendance registers, and were being underpaid. 

South Africa is host to thousands of Zimbabweans, some of whom were offered citizenship, most of whom cross the border illegally due to economic meltdown and political prosecution in Zimbabwe.

Some informal settlement communities subject Zimbabweans to isolation, persecution and violence, with occasional death threats and mob killings, despite an SA government policy against xenophobia.

There are also large numbers of other African nationals living in South Africa.

“Some employees were not registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Compensation Fund, while [compliance with] the Occupational Health and Safety Act was found to be non-existent,” Magakwe said.

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