Home Affairs, Labour Department and police to inspect Cape farms

Home Affairs, Labour Department and police to inspect Cape farms

The Labour Department said Home Affairs’ presence is the result of complaints made about the employment of undocumented migrants in the agricultural sector. Home Affairs will be testing the authenticity and validity of the workers’ documents.

The inspections will take place in Ashton, Robertson, McGregor and Montagu from Monday, 11 April to Thursday, 14 April.

On Thursday and Friday, 16 to 17 March, seasonal migrant workers from Zimbabwe allegedly clashed in Robertson over jobs in the area.

It is believed that the tensions in this farming community spilt in Bredasdorp where hundreds of residents of the Zwelitsha informal settlement marched to the municipality on Friday, 25 March to hand over a memorandum of grievances related to foreigners in the community.

When the march was over and the protestors returned home, the scene turned violent and people’s homes were destroyed. The attacks left approximately 450 migrant families displaced.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) believes the incidents could be related.

“We have been monitoring the situation at Robertson regarding the clashes between nationals from Lesotho and nationals from Zimbabwe, who were chased out of Nkqubela.

“We stabilised the situation. It does appear now that some of the nationals from Lesotho as alleged by some people left for Bredasdorp to mobilise the community against Zimbabweans,” said provincial commissioner Chris Nissen.

The department of labour said its inspectors will be checking compliance with the Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA), Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), and the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA).

In Robertson and surrounding areas, the department said it has been engaging with the municipality, employers and labour brokers to make sure workers are recruited in line with labour legislation and that “the first preference for jobs is allocated for the local unemployed individuals.”

“Our inspections are not punitive but collaborative to ensure that workplaces adhere to the rule of law and promote a healthy and safe working environment. However, we will be very hard on employers who are deliberately operating outside the parameters of the law,” said David Esau, the Western Cape Chief Inspector.

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