The Department of Home Affairs plans to take action against certain sectors that have failed to abide by the country’s Immigration Act and labour laws concerning the employment of foreign nationals.
Speaking at a briefing, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said the department found that there were companies that weren’t obeying the law in ensuring that their workforce was made up of 60% South African citizens.
“It’s our responsibility as government to respond to issues … we’ll be implicated in any of the tensions that worsen from failure to act,” he said.
Gigaba said the department was also investigating allegations made by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) about a Chinese company that was allowed to bring in 242 workers for a construction project.
Last Thursday, Cosatu called for a probe into the Chinese company CBMI Construction.
Cosatu said it found it unacceptable that a country with such a high unemployment rate would allow a company to bring in cheap labour.
“This is going to create more unemployment and will result in more unemployed people depending on government for their livelihood, while the Chinese are repatriating their wages out of the country, limiting the demand in the economy,” Cosatu said.
“Cosatu is worried that Chinese companies are allowed to get away with serious labour law violations in this country. Our government is doing very little to protect the interests of workers and the local people in general.”
The hospitality industry told Gigaba it would raise awareness on the matter.
“Among other things, [the hospitality sector] agreed to raise awareness on the dangers and consequences of employing undocumented people, including the risk on their part of jeopardising their licences,” Gigaba said.
Sources: Business Day, IOL