South Africa - Durban - 15 August 2019 - Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi goes for a surprise visit at Durban China mall for an inspection of compliance. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi this week visited one of the department's labour centres in Durban  as part of efforts to improve services, his office said.

The Pinetown centre, which services areas such as New Germany, West Mead, Hillcrest, Kloof, Waterfall, Kwadabeka, KwaNdengezi, and Hammersdale, has to grapple with long queues daily, among other challenges.

“We will sit down and apply our minds to the challenges presented to us today. We will be doing rounds all over the country to try mitigating and solving the issues faced by our people. We are the law bearers of the labour laws and we therefore should be leading by example,” Nxesi told clients during his visit.

The labour department said Nxesi also visited the Durban China mall, where he found that most employees were foreign nationals with no work permits.

Employers were also not in compliance with labour laws such as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Unemployment Insurance Act and the National Minimum Wage Act.

"What is very clear from the interactions we had is the gross violation of the labour rights and it’s something that we are seriously going to look into," Nxesi said.

"The fact that 90 percent of the workers in these shops are foreign nationals is clear indication of exploitation of cheap labour by the employers."

“Employers are using foreigners because they know they are desperate and will take anything offered to them,” said Nxesi

He said with approximately 1.7 million employers registered, the capacity of less than a thousands inspectors countrywide was not adequate to enforce compliance.

“As much as we are going to increase the number of our inspectors, it’s clear now that we have to hit very hard," he said.

- African News Agency (ANA)