Durban - EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini said the reason the party conducted inspections at restaurants in Gauteng this week was to ensure coexistence among African people in the hospitality sector.
Dlamini said the party remained firm in its stance on pan-Africanism, but employers should prioritise South Africans when making recruitment decisions.
He asked why workers in the sector who were not South African citizens didn’t get a contract of employment but were employed verbally.
“The visit by the president and commander-in-chief was to engage with the business owners and business industry in this country.
“They must come on board to make sure that there’s coexistence between our African brothers and sisters and ourselves...
“... because we think with the way things are, especially by those in the industry, they created a conflict between our own people because they are the ones who employ our people and the ones who are exploiting them.
“So ours is to make sure that there is no exploitation, our people are being treated fairly.
“Yes we prioritise South Africans but our brothers in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, we know what they did for this country when this country was in need of them,” Dlamini said.
The EFF’s restaurant visit caused a stir in the public, when leader Julius Malema was seen visiting private businesses.
Malema was also seen getting into a debate with the manager of Kream Restaurant over whether or not the red berets could enter the premises and inspect their labour policies.
Malema told the manager that he was a member of Parliament and did not need any permission to enter.
Malema announced that he would pounce on the hospitality sector during the party’s Siyabonga rally at People’s Park in Durban on January 8.
The Department of Employment and Labour said that enforcing compliance in terms of legislation is a task that resides with the department.
It said any employee, regardless of their nationality, is entitled to the same rights.
“The right of enforcing compliance with the legislation resides with the Department of Employment and Labour.
“In the area where a sector is covered by a bargaining council collective agreement, the bargaining council has the right to enforce conditions of their collective agreement.
“We prevail upon any organisation or political party that feels or comes across non-compliance with the labour laws to raise such matters with the Department of Employment and Labour or bargaining council if such a sector falls under the jurisdiction of a bargaining council.
’We intercede with such an organisation to act cautiously and within the ambit of the law.
“One cannot seek to see the enforcement of the law by breaking the law too,” the Department of Labour said.
Hospitality Union Federated Hospitality Association of Southern African (Fedhasa) said the EFF had no right to gain access to employee information as it went against the Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act.
“In terms of the Popi Act and the Constitution, disclosing personal information is in contravention of South African law.
“Fedhasa and its members and the hospitality and tourism industry at large, are thus legally bound to not disclose the personal information of employees, including the nationality of staff, to anyone unless they are officials or official representatives who in terms of legislation have a lawful right of access to employee information and records.
“If this information is disclosed to a person not legislatively entitled to it, the employer will be breaking the law of our land.
“So no – employers are not allowed to disclose their staff’s personal information to a political party,” Fedhasa national chairperson Rosemary Anderson told IOL this week.