Pretoria - The Department of Employment and Labour’s inspection and enforcement services, accompanied by the Department of Home Affairs and the SAPS in the Western Cape, has announced week-long mega blitz inspections targeting the hospitality sector including hotels, bed and breakfast facilities, and restaurants.
Government’s announcement of the labour law enforcement blitz comes a day after leader of the EFF Julius Malema hogged the public discourse after visiting restaurants in Gauteng to “inspect” the ratio of local and non-South African employees.
The Department of Employment and Labour’s said its “mega blitz” inspections would commence from January 24 to 28 in the Metropole, Cape Winelands and Overberg regions.
The inspectorate will be checking compliance on the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA); Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA); Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA) and Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).
The Department of Employment and Labour said not only would inspectors be testing compliance and addressing non-compliance, but it would also serve to advise, educate and provide technical information and support to both workers and employers about the services offered by the inspectorate.
The mega blitz inspections will be led by the inspector general Aggy Moiloa, chief inspector Tibor Szana and the Western Cape provincial chief inspector David Esau.
“The Department of Home Affairs and the South African Police Services (SAPS) will also form part of the blitz inspections to ensure that all institutions like hotels, bed and breakfast facilities, restaurants and backpackers are fully inspected,” the department said in a statement.
Chief inspector Esau said that considering the impact that Covid-19 has had on the sector in the last two years, it was important to reinforce compliance to labour laws and ensure that employers still uphold the basic conditions in the workplace, while also maintaining the health and safety of workers at all times.
He said employers can in the meantime ensure that their house is in order before inspectors visit.
“We are changing how we do things by informing employers on the necessary documents that we need when we arrive. With this approach, employers have no reason to tell us they did not prepare the necessary papers for us. We are leaving no gaps for excuses.
“Books that are in order should be able to save both the employer and the inspector time to do the necessary inspection,” Esau said.
During the blitz, the law enforcement teams will inspect:
• Attendance Register. (Last 2 months)
• Signed employment contracts / letter of appointments of an employee.
• Information about remuneration (pay slips/envelopes), overtime, leave pay (Last 2 months)
• Unemployment Insurance, registration number, as well as proof of last payments.
• Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) registration number as well as proof of last payments.
• A copy of the CIPRO Certificate.
A list containing the names and ID numbers of all employees are some of the records inspectors will be expecting employers to produce.
Esau said the Department of Employment and Labour did not want employers to exploit employees.
“Many businesses are up and running now following the impact that Covid-19 had, particularly on the hospitality industry. While we support the economic recovery, we also don’t want workers to be exploited. It’s imperative that we get on the ground to evaluate if conditions of work are still adhered to,” said Esau.
On Thursday, the Human Science Research Council’s Dr Steven Gordon said the much-publicised visits by Malema to inspect restaurants’ compliance with labour laws was a campaign to drum up support for the EFF, which may fuel animosity and anti-immigrant sentiments.
“Obviously the EFF’s actions over the recent period show a party trying to push the anti-immigrant button, despite their rhetoric to the contrary. This, I assume is an attempt to show up support within certain constituencies following a disappointing performance in the recent local government elections,” Gordon told TV channel Newzroom Afrika.
He said politicians should avoid sowing inter-group animosity to drive political support.
“South Africa has a very long history in which politicians used divisive rhetoric around inter-group relations to obtain power, and that divisive and tragic history is still borne in the legacy of South Africa today,” said Gordon, who is a public opinion scientist.
He said debates about economic opportunity and immigration in South Africa should acknowledge that a significant minority in South Africa holds very strong anti-immigrant views, and when activated, these views can cause violent anti-immigrant activity.