The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, met with representatives of the hospitality sector in Pretoria with the aim of taking steps in rectifying civic issues raised by citizens, labour stakeholders and affected government departments.
“The crux of the matter, as observed, is that many businesses, particularly in the construction and hospitality sectors, don’t hire South African workers, preferring migrants,” the minister said while addressing the media.
To try avoid further incidents such as South African citizens being denied work opportunities or attacks on foreign nationals who were employed locally by non-complying companies, the minister highlighted that issues should be addressed before having to receive pressure from the public. Issues included perceptions around business employing foreign and undocumented nationals in an effort to cut on costs.
“I made it quite clear from the start of the meeting that we needed a very strong partnership with business, and that it was important to clarify issues and act accordingly even before we are pressurised by the public.” the minister added.
The hospitality sector, admitted to being aware of such issues and were committed to assisting government.
“We can’t ignore the problem in the sector. We are willing to assist the department in enforcing the laws,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA), Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.
Amongst the agreed steps to improve the sector, companies agreed to have their employee make up consist of at least 60% of South African citizens, while government would conduct inspections on businesses and impose penalties where offences are discovered, as per Section 49 (3) of the Immigration Act of 2002, which stipulates that those found to violate the act and are found guilty of illegally employing foreigners would be liable to a fine or imprisonment.