The Sunday Independent conducted a random survey and spoke to some of the workers, mostly undocumented immigrants from neighbouring countries. They complained about their working conditions.
Robert Phiri* from Malawi, a trained teacher who came to South Africa three years ago and has been working for a Pakistani shop owner for the past two years, said he was working under difficult conditions.
Phiri said he came to South Africa looking for a better life but ended up a “slave”, adding that the police raids made things worse because he lost two days of his wages when the shops were closed.
“I work from 6am to 7pm seven days a week and I am only paid R750 per week. There are no lunch breaks or off days. I can’t get a proper job because I don’t have legal papers for me to work here.”