Maputo — Reacting to the suspenson of 34 of its foreign workers in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, the South African petrochemical company Sasol has denied that it is in violation of Mozambican labour legislation.
Last week, the General Inspectorate of Labour (IGT) in the Labour Ministry announced that it had suspended 34 foreigners, 17 of them South Africans, who were supposedly working illegally at the Sasol gas processing centre in Temane.
Six of the South Africans, the IGT said, had been contracted under the quota system for foreign workers. But Sasol had already exhausted its quota, the IGT claimed, and in order to employ additional foreign labour, it should have requested authorisation from the Labour Minister.
The other 28 foreign workers presented no documents allowing them to work in Mozambique, the IGT claimed. In addition to the South Africans, they included workers from Britain, Canada, Iran, Brazil and the United States.
The inspection at the Sasol plant was part of a national campaign to inspect the mining and building industries.
In a Monday press statement, Sasol gave a different version of events. It said the IGT “reviewed the work authorisations of expatriate staff. However, although the expatriates had work authorisations, some concerns were raised. After the inspection, an Inspection Minute was provided which included the suspension of the workers involved”.
Sasol said it is currently analysing the Inspection Minute “and is working with the Labour Ministry in order to clear up the matter”.
Sasol added that, according to its own records, its recruitment is in line with the quota system, and with the work authorisation procedures.
“In Mozambique, as in other projects throughout the world, we promote localisation and compliance with local labout legislation”, the comany added.
“We remain committed to our growth plans in Mozambique and we are contining our partnership with the Mozambican government”, the statement said. Despite the suspensions “all the functions and operations of the Temane Processing Centre and of the drilling campaign are proceeding”.