The Department of Employment and Labour is encouraged by the high rate of compliance with labour legislation, which stood at 96% in one week of the joint blitz inspection in Sarah Baartman District in the Eastern Cape.
The department on Monday applauded high compliance with labour legislation in the Sunday's River Valley Local Municipality with some concerns that remain.
The Provincial Head of department, Nomfundo Douw-Jack said that the continued scourge of the employment of illegal immigrants remains a concern, which does not only impacts negatively on law enforcement but also the unemployment rate.
"Employees are encouraged to attend the information session as it will help them to understand their rights and responsibilities and be able to report employers who may be non-compliant," Jack said.
The joint operation continues this week and will end with an advocacy session meant to empower employees about the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, National Minimum Wage Act, Unemployment Insurance Act, Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, Immigration Act as well as information about COVID-19 and vaccination.
The advocacy sessions will be held on Thursday at Nomathamsanqa Hall in Addo and Mabhida Hall in Kirkwood.
The first week of the operations saw a total of 166 inspections being conducted with 79 in the farm sector, 33 in wholesale and retail sector, 16 in the hospitality sector and 38 in miscellaneous.
The inspections were conducted in the Addo and Kirkwood areas to ensure that employers in these sectors comply with legislation while employees get the protection of the law and being vaccinated at the place of work.
Five compliance orders and one written undertaking were served to non-compliant employers due to underpayment of their employees. A sum of R109 786.77 for underpayment of salaries of employees was recovered from employers who were not paying according to the prescribed rates.
The Acting Provincial Chief Inspector, Patiswa Mbongwana, who is also coordinating the joint operation said it is their collective objective to protect vulnerable workers whilst assisting employers to comply with the law.
The Department of Health also used the opportunity to conduct a COVID-19 education drive and vaccinated 158 workers in Sitrusoewer, Summerville and some of Farm Packhouses in Addo and Kirkwood.
The 71 alleged illegal immigrants who are Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe nationals were detained and they appeared before court on Wednesday, 8 September 2021.
“All females who were detained got released because of their small children but warned to appear before court. Out of the 68 males, two were juveniles and two produced valid visas which left a total of 64 illegal immigrants detained pending deportation. One farmer paid an admission of guilt amounting to R5000 at Addo Police Station,” the department said.
Source: South African Government News Agency