Cape Town - The Department of Employment and Labour’s (DOL’s) mega blitz inspections revealed a low to non-compliance rate of 42 percent in the Western Cape hospitality sector.
The operation began on Monday and on its first day, the department conducted 118 inspections, with 50 employers complying and 68 non-complying.
Non-compliance areas which were identified in the inspectors' reports included non-payment of overtime worked, non-compliance with Covid-19 protocols, unemployment insurance contributions not being paid to the fund, employers not producing particulars of employment, and Occupational Health and Safety Risk assessments not produced.
Inspector General of the DOL, Aggy Moiloa, stated that the inspection blitz would continue in other provinces over the next few months and that some of these would target other vulnerable sectors in addition to the hospitality sector.
Moiloa said that the strategy was to focus on problematic sectors on a province-by-province basis. And in addition to the blitz, the department was planning to host a hospitality sector seminar in the coming weeks as part of its education and advocacy efforts.
Western Cape Provincial Chief Inspector David Esau said inspectors remained on track to visit 500 workplaces by the end of the week to examine all facets of the department's legislation.
‘’Five establishments have closed due to financial constraints and converted their restaurants into apartments. Three accommodation establishments refused to comply with departmental requests for access because their gates were closed and inspectors were unable to enter their premises, and therefore the companies will be visited again with the assistance of the South African Police Service,’’ Esau said.
He said that three businesses that employed foreign nationals had been asked to provide proof of valid documents which would be referred to the Department of Home Affairs for verification.
“The other issue we discovered was unpaid TERS benefits to employees for the months of October 2020-December 2020, and January 2021-March 2021 – the matter is currently being investigated by the department,” he added.
The focus of blitz inspections is in the Cape Town metropole, on the coastline, and the Winelands and Overberg regions.
DOL Minister Thulas Nxesi said the lack of union structures in some workplaces was making the work of the department difficult and that unions existed to protect workers and take immediate action when problems arose. He said that the hospitality sector was problematic because there were no proper bargaining structures.
“I hope employers will recognise the existence of unions in the hospitality sector so that appropriate structures of engagement can be established to stabilize the labour market.’
“We have been working under difficult circumstances for the last two years of Covid-19 because workplace dynamics have been shifted. Numerous workers are classified as atypical, and millions have been pushed into the informal sector in recent years. We must develop new strategies to cushion and protect vulnerable workers,””he said.