The exploitation of women in the workplace remains rife, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/ANA

BRITS - The exploitation of women in the workplace remains rife, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Tuesday.

"The majority of the exploited even in farms, in factories in many companies is women. I think it is relevant that we also raise this issue of the exploited being women, some are thrown to the fields with their kids on their backs, horrible things are happening to women workers and that is not decent for them. Some do not even qualify or are not given any maternity leave, after giving birth, after three days you are back at work weak as you are,"  the minister said ahead of a two day inspection blitz in Brits in the North West province.

The blitz will focus on the farming, wholesale and retails sectors. Inspectors are set to investigate compliance with the labour laws.

"Our coming here should not be seen as coming to threaten anyone, we are here to talk about improving industrial relations," he said.

Nxesi also pointed out that the biggest exploitation happened in the informal economy.

"The biggest exploitation is in what you call the informal economy. This informal economy, these shops and every and everything even us in the country who have employed people that how we are abusing people. At some stage we have to find a way to deal with this informal economy.

"We cannot be talking about white monopoly capital must comply but, we do not comply...I think that exploitation is worse in the informal economy. You clock in at six in the morning and knock off at ten o' clock at night. People in some of these areas work like slaves and we must be consistent and see wrong things regardless of who is employed."

Nxesi, flanked by his deputy Boitumelo Moloi and Madibeng mayor Jostina Mothibi, led inspectors to a vegetable farm, Modelpak in Kleinfontein, about 15 km outside Brits to inspect compliance. The farm made news headline for allegedly deducting R700 from the workers' monthly salaries. In January workers embarked on an unprotected strike demanding to be paid R3,500 per month.

Inspectors checked whether the farm owners had complied with issued raised during their first inspection visit. A report was expected later on Tuesday.

Labour inspectors were handed ten new branded cars to ensure there was maximum visibility of inspectors to enforce compliance with the labour laws.

African News Agency (ANA)