Malawi: Govt Follow Up Reports of Malawians Trafficked By Chinese to Forced Labor in SA

19 November 2019

Government says it is investigating media reports that some Malawians were among other nationals who were being forcebly kept in a labour camp in South Africa.

Beautiful City busted: Chinese factory in Johannesburg involved in the trafficking of Malawians including minors and subjecting them to forced labor.

This follows the discovery of the camp by the South African elite police, the Hawks and the department of Labour at a Chinese factory in Johannesburg.

A government official says there are reports that some Malawians were in the labour like slave camp but the government is yet to establish the numbers and their identities.

The group of illegal immigrants from Malawi is said to have been locked up behind high steel gates at premises known as "Beautiful City" in Village Deep.

The workers had limited movement, were expected to work seven days a week, with earnings of R65 a day from theor employer, a Chinese national.

The factory specialised in creating the inner cotton of blankets using recycled clothing.

South Africa's labour department's chief inspector in Gauteng, Michael Msiza says that Beautiful City Ltd was employing 150 employees on forced labour.

Msiza said 149 of them were illegal or undocumented foreigners, out of which 15 were children.

He likened the operation to "modern day slavery".

Msiza added: "When the Malawian citizens wanted to buy [from the shops], they were expected to write down what they want on a piece of paper for their bosses to buy it for them."

South Africa Police were first alerted to the illegal operation in August when they were informed that Chinese nationals were trafficking Malawian nationals for this business.

The Chinese national behind the operation has been arrested while the employees were taken to a place of safety.

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