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RUSTENBURG -​​ Seven people arrested for allegedly trafficking in illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday, where the case was postponed. 

The four men and three women were arrested on November 12 in Johannesburg in a joint operation by the department of employment and labour’s inspection and enforcement services, who were working together with the South African Police Service and Hawks.

The arrests followed a tip-off  that the Chinese and Taiwanese nationals were allegedly involved in the trafficking of illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour.

The case against Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao, Dai Junying, Zhang Zhilian, Kevin Tsao and Chen Hui was postponed to November 28 for bail application.

The joint operation was conducted at the premises of Beautiful City (Pty) Ltd located at Village Deep in Johannesburg.

Authorities found minor children working at the factory. The employer was also found to be violating labour legislation including contravention of the national minimum wage, occupational health and safety act and basic conditions of employment act.

An audit by the department of employment and labour found that there were 91 workers employed at the factory during the raid.

Provincial chief inspector advocate Michael Msiza said the employer owed the South African unemployment insurance fund (UIF) R261 231,42 for non-registration, declaration and payments for all 91 employees.

"The employer has not only contravened the unemployment insurance act and unemployment insurance contributions act, but has further spat in the face of the vulnerable by disregarding Section 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa that guarantees employees the right to social security," said Msiza. 

African News Agency (ANA)