South Africa: Employment and Labour On Arrests for Alleged Human Trafficking and Violation of Labour Laws

press release

Seven ChInese and Taiwanese nationals busted for alleged human trafficking and violation of labour laws remanded in custody

The seven Chinese and Taiwanese nationals who were busted last week for operating a factory allegedly involved in the trafficking of illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour appeared today (November 21) in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.

The four males and three females were arrested on November 12 in a joint operation by the Department of Employment and Labour's Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) in Gauteng together with the South African Police Services (SAPS), and the Hawks Unit. The arrests followed a tip-off that the Chinese and Taiwanese nationals were allegedly involved in the trafficking of illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour.

The accused are Qin Li (a female), Jiaqing Zhou (male), Ma Biao (male), Dai Junying (female), Zhang Zhilian (female), Kevin Tsao (male), and Chen Hui (male). The seven accused appeared today before Magistrate Mr Ramada. The accused have not yet been formally charged. Mr Ramada remanded the accused in custody, and will appear next week on November 28 for bail application.

The Department's joint operation at the premises of a company called Beautiful City Pty Ltd located at Village Deep in Johannesburg found minor children employed at the factory, and that the employer was violating the suite of labour legislation ranging from National Minimum Wage, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

An audit by the Department found that there were 91 workers employed at the factory during the raid.

Meanwhile, the Department of Employment and Labour today (November 21) served the lawyer representing the accused, Jan Christoffel Kruger from David H Botha, Du Plessis & Kruger Incorporated with a Compliance Order in regard to non-compliance with the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act.

According to Department of Employment and Labour Gauteng Chief Inspector, Advocate Michael Msiza the employer owes the Unemployment Insurance Fund R261 231,42 for non-registration, declaration and payments for 91 employees who were found on the premises.

"The employer has not only contravened the Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act, but has further spat in the face of the vulnerable by disregarding Section 27 of the Constitution of Republic of South Africa that guarantees employees the right to social security," said Advocate Msiza.

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

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