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Rustenburg - Seven Chinese nationals arrested for the alleged trafficking of illegal immigrants and subjecting them to forced labour have appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, the department of employment and labour said.

The group appeared in court on Thursday and the case was postponed to December 11 at the request of the defence, department spokesperson Teboho Thejane said.

Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao, Dai Junying, Zhang Zhilian, Kevin Tsao, a naturalised South African and Chen Hui were arrested on November 12, following a tip-off about their activities which led to law enforment agencies and labour inspectors raiding the premises of a company called Beautiful City at Village Deep in Johannesburg. 

"During the raid minor minor children were found to be employed at the factory, and that the employer was violating the suite of labour legislation ranging from National Minimum Wage, Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act  and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act," the labour department said.

"The employers owe more than R4.6 million for non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage, more than R2 million non-payment for Sunday work, R261 000 for UIF (unemployment insurance fund) contributions(and) R250,000 fine for non-compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Act."

An audit by the department found that 91 Malawian workers were employed at the factory.

African News Agency/ANA