The Department of Labour and Employment has vowed to crack down on South African companies which are flouting labour laws during South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.
The department said that it has received a number of complaints relating to health safety issues, while some companies are also staying open fraudulently using fake certificates declaring them as essential services.
To combat these abuses, the department said it conducts ‘blitz inspections’ to clamp down on businesses that are not following South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown or are breaching health and safety rules.
The first of these inspections will take place on Monday (30 march) at major retail outlets in the Pretoria’s central business district and will focus on whether employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
“The Department has received numerous complaints from workers that some employers are forcing them to work without the necessary personal protective equipment, thus providing a breeding ground for any outbreak of the coronavirus,” said labour minister Thulas Nxesi.
“Our Labour Inspectors are following up – largely, at the moment, in Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN. The inspectors are also finding violations of existing health and safety regulations. Indeed, a retail outlet and a manufacturing plant were closed down on day one of the lockdown.”
Nxesi said that the inspectors are being accompanied by SAPS, as well as Department of Trade and Industry officials. The reason for the latter is that some employers have fraudulent certificates declaring that they can continue to operate as essential services, he said.
“The inspectorate will issue a daily report on their findings. At this stage, we are urging these employers to do the right thing. By next week, we will start to name and shame individual companies and branches.
“Again, the seriousness of the present crisis calls upon all of us to rise to the occasion and comply fully with the conditions and regulations of the lockdown. So, wash your hands, practice physical distancing, stay at home and stay safe.”