Eight undocumented foreigners and two employers were arrested at a shop in the Pretoria CBD on the first day of the “mega blitz” inspection on Monday, the department of employment and labour said.
Prohibition notices were issued against the use of eight other employees at the shop for contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The department’s inspection and enforcement services in Gauteng, police and home affairs officials are conducting inspections this week in the wholesale and retail and hospitality sectors to check the level of compliance with labour legislation.
The prohibited employees were found to be unqualified to work and were without proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as suitable shoes and uniforms.
“According to the regulations and the Act, no-one is supposed to work in hazardous areas unless they are provided with the proper PPE,” said labour inspector-general Aggy Moiloa.
“Hence, such employees will not be rendering their work until their employers provide them with proper PPE. However, the Act states that the prohibited employees are still entitled to their salaries even when they are off-duty as prohibited by the department until their employers comply. There were also two employees who had bought their own work uniform which the law is against and for those two, the employer has to pay them back their money.”
The eight undocumented foreigners were arrested by inspectors from home affairs.
“In terms of immigration law, when you find such [discrepancies or non-compliance], the employer also gets arrested because they would have violated the Immigration Act. The employer was taken alongside the people that were found not in possession of the right documents,” Moiloa said.
Employers are being checked for compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, sectoral determination, including the National Minimum Wage Act, Unemployment Insurance Act, and the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.
Moiloa said the national multistakeholder “mega blitz” inspections started in 2020 in the Eastern Cape and was rolled out to other provinces, with just the Northern Cape still outstanding.
“If national statistics are anything to go by, we are not expecting great compliance levels. We haven’t found that there is great compliance in the past.”
A seminar will be held after the inspections are concluded so stakeholders can take stock of the situation on the ground.