South Africa: Brits Farmers, Retailers Slapped With Labour Penalties

Farmers, retailers and operators in the hospitality sector in Brits, North West, have been slapped with labour penalties following a two-day blitz inspection by the Employment and Labour Department.

A team of Employment and Labour inspectors embarked the blitz inspections targeting the farming, retail and wholesale and hospitality sectors in Brits, North West province.

The two-day blitz inspections, which started on the 6th and concluded on Wednesday, emanated from allegations of non-compliance with regard to labour legislations by some of the operators in the area.

The blitz sought to check compliance in the areas of Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA) and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act (UICA).

The findings of the blitz reveal that of the 61 workplaces visited, most employees are not registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund, there are no signed contracts of employment, different sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act were found to be non-compliant and, employers are not paying their workers according to the set National Minimum Wage.

Inspectors issued seven contravention notices, two prohibition notices, two improvement notices, 24 compliance orders and a total of 27 undertakings.

Provincial Chief Inspector Boikie Mampuru said granted that most workplaces do not comply with the labour laws; it was a positive sign that most employers were eager to meet with inspectors and were very cooperative.

"The Department's visibility was enhanced and the inspectors were seen to enforce different labour legislations. Employers and employees were made aware of their rights and obligations in terms of the legislation," said Mampuru.

Launching the blitz inspections on Tuesday, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi pleaded with employers not to be threatened by inspections but rather see them as another way that the Department uses to help them understand the labour laws so that they can be compliant.

"Our coming here should not be seen as coming to threaten anyone, we are here to talk about improving Industrial Relations," said the Minister.

Follow-up inspections are to be conducted to determine and establish if employers have addressed all contraventions especially for Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The department said inspectors ensured that 100% of non-compliant employers are dealt with as the labour laws dictates.

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