Joint employment and labour mega blitz ends with an uncompromising caution

SEKHUKHUNE
The Department of Employment and Labour concluded mega blitz inspections in the Hospitality, Road Freight, and Logistics sectors last week in Limpopo.

The inspections began on 28 February 2022 and continued until today, 04 March 2022.
Inspector General Aggy Moiloa warned non-compliant employers that inspectors would return soon for a follow-up inspection following the mega blitz inspection.

The mega blitz inspections were carried out in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) immigration services and South African Police Services (SAPS).

As of this morning, 04 March 2022, a total of 672 workplace inspections were carried out, 55 percent (364) of the employers inspected were non-compliant, resulting in 232 contravention notices being issued.

According to Moiloa, “the majority of those areas inspected are operating without a risk assessment, which is a blueprint of a workplace, which is an indication of non-compliance.” Their health and safety compliance officers are certified, but they are not on the job”.

She stated that the department received a lot of criticism for announcing inspections, but the approach to announcing has advantages and disadvantages.

According to the Inspector General, “our inspections are highly administrative; for the inspection to be thorough, we require certain documents such as a detailed payroll, UIF documents, compliance with the national minimum wage, and the presence of employers.” When we go to a prepared workplace, we can usually conduct a fruitful inspection; however, we can tell when employers have cleaned up the workplace. We have a method of detecting doctored documents, and it does not preclude unannounced inspections in cases of child labour or worker abuse”.

For the mega blitz, the province’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) compliance rate is 23%. Inspectors issued contravention notices to employers, requiring them to correct the non-compliance within sixty days. When the period expires, an unannounced inspection will be conducted to determine whether employers implemented the failure of the notice, and if not, a prohibition notice will be issued, followed by the prosecution if necessary.

According to analysis, the Department’s inspectors discovered that most employers are working on a ticking time bomb because the Act is not being followed in the majority of workplaces. Most companies visited have a high risk of fatal electrical incidents due to a lack of qualified electricians employed to install electricity. The Department advised employers to stop using employees who are not registered to install electricity, as this increases the risk of fatal incidents.

According to Albert Matsaung, Provincial Manager Home Affairs, “part of the joint operation was to assess the areas that employed foreigners, and we found that they have the correct documentation”.

Inspectors did, however, discover employees working without documentation, though the numbers were not particularly high. We discovered 5 illegal employees who lacked proper documentation; three employers were arrested and faced charges of violating laws, and the employees are detained and awaiting a court date.

Thapelo Motseo

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