File picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

PRETORIA - The Department of Labour on Monday warned about an individual posing as a labour inspector, visiting farms in the Eastern Free State and soliciting bribes from employers. 

"Sontaha Abram Twala, who goes by a false name, Abraham Mofokeng, is promising to get rid of CCMA and department of labour cases [that] employers may be having with either of the two institutions, for a fee. It is also alleged that this individual is issuing some inspection letters to indicate that inspections have been conducted on those employers who may have accepted his services," the department said in a statement released to media.

"He apparently promises employers that once such letters are issued no labour inspector may come and conduct an inspection at their workplaces. He allegedly charges about R2 000 for such services."

Nomfundo Douw-Jack, head of the department in the Free State, appealed to employers to be wary of the impersonator.

"We can unequivocally confirm that we do not have such a person in our employ as the department of labour. We have checked from our systems and can conclude that he is nothing but a crook whose sole intention is to milk unsuspecting employers of their hard earned monies,” said Douw-Jack.

“We are calling upon all employers in every sector of our economy to follow the law and not take shortcuts insofar as compliance to labour legislation is concerned. In addition to that, we plead with all employers to report this person to law enforcement authorities should they come to contact with him."

To differentiate between a legitimate labour inspector and an imposter, the labour department said employers should note the following:

The labour official will always use a departmental email address in his/her correspondence;

The department has its own inspectors responsible for administering enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and will therefore never appoint a private individual to assume the role of its inspectors;

The department's officials always carry and should, upon request, produce identity cards and/or appointment letters with the department's letterhead.

The department also cautioned that the fake inspector "together with other villains like him" can try and manufacture their own identity cards and appointment letters, thus employers are encouraged to contact the human resources office should they suspect foul play. 

The department can be contacted on Free State number 051 505 6230 or 31. Members of the public can contact the department's fraud hotline 086 002 2194 or [email protected]

African News Agency (ANA)