The Department of Employment and Labour, together with the South African Police Service in Limpopo conducted a reactive joint night inspection at ZZ2 farm following the complaint about the employer disproving employees to go home with the objective to investigate whether the allegations were true.
Provincial Chief Inspector (PCI), Phaswane Tladi said, “our inspectors conducted the inspection at night because the complainant alluded that their sleeping conditions do not comply with COVID-19 regulations”.
“It was important for us to observe the real situation for ourselves without informing the employer to avoid any further claims,” said Tladi.
The preliminary finding is that on accommodation, the employer is compliant. There is adequate space for employees to sleep in terms of OHS Act and with COVID-19 protocols.
With regards to the complaint against the employers not permitting workers to go home; the Inspectors found that the employer introduced policies as a result of COVID-19 pandemic to control movement of workers.
Tladi said, “there is a specific manner in which workers are released from work and come back to work”. In the interview with employees, it was found that the allegations cannot be sustained as they are allowed to go home. However, they must follow the health protocols should they present any symptoms.”
The department is still going to embark on a comprehensive inspection to cover all farms with Inspectors from all sections to ensure that all legislation administered by the department are covered. The process commenced on Thursday 27 August and will end on 2 September 2020, following which a full report will be made available upon completion of the inspection.
“We don't need to prematurely speculate the results of the inspections, but we need to allow the process to reach its logical conclusion. And provide information that is correct, despite the outcome,” said Tladi.
The PCI added that the employer was advised that it's not allowed to keep people against their will as there is no section of the regulations that allows them to do such.
“We call on the public to continue to be whistle blowers in order for our inspectors to conduct targeted kind of inspection to ensure compliance.
During the lockdown inspectors have conducted various inspections across the province in the retail and health sector, and they found that there was a high level of non-compliance. However, there is a lot of improvement following the inspections.
Issued by: Department of Employment and LabourDistributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.