Cape Town - Following the blitz inspections conducted at Marabastad in Tshwane last week, the Department of Employment and Labour says it discovered a child working in one of the shops.
“It is appalling and unacceptable, especially given the recent international conference on the elimination of child labour, which was held in South Africa in May, hence there is an international call to end child labour,” Department Director for Statutory & Advocacy Services in the Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch, advocate Fikiswa Bede said.
A joint multi-departmental inspections blitz descended on downtown Marabastad in Pretoria on August 8 in an operation that led to the closure of the Tshwane fruit and vegetable market.
The joint inspection blitz was led by the department in partnership with the SAPS and the Department of Home Affairs’ Immigration Unit to check on compliance with a suite of labour laws and immigration legislation.
During the joint inspection more than 20 people were arrested for being illegal immigrants, employing illegal immigrants and employers who obstructed the inspectors from conducting their duties.
SAPS has since arrested both the mother and employer as a result of the discovery of a child working in one of the shops, the department said.
“In handling this matter, the department is collaborating with other relevant government departments.
“Employing a child is a criminal offence under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Children must attend school and not be assigned inappropriate work. The department takes child labour very seriously and wishes to convey the message that employing children must be prohibited.
“The department would like to emphasise that employing children to do inappropriate work is a criminal offence and when it comes to child labour and other violations of labour laws, the department will leave no stone unturned.”