Labour on protecting vulnerable workers and eradicating child labour in the Wesselsbron and Allanridge farms

Free State Labour Inspectors going beyond the call of duty in protecting vulnerable workers and eradicating child labour in the Wesselsbron and Allanridge farms.
The Department of Labour’s resolve to protect vulnerable workers was heightened yesterday when no less than 15 more children were rescued from a farm in Allanridge. This number is in addition to the 23 children who were rescued from a non-compliant employer also operating as an “illegal” labour broker in the Wesselsbron area.

The Department has been hard at work to crackdown what now seems like a syndicate of mischievous employers paying their workers next to nothing, if at all they get paid, for working their fields. Since this clampdown, inspectors of the Department have been very alert and leaving no stone unturned in making sure that these criminals are brought to book.

To attest to their determination to make a clean sweep of the whole Lejweleputswa district, they earlier yesterday stopped a truck ferrying 31 seasonal workers from one of the Wesselsbron farms back to the North West province. The driver of the truck was ordered to head to a local police station together with his passengers. Upon impeccable and thorough investigation by Labour Inspectors and the police, it was discovered that these passengers were seasonal workers and were being transported back home.

In-depth and comprehensive interviews conducted with the seasonal workers revealed that each was paid a mere R2000 for having worked in another farm in the same area for more than two months. This money was far less than the minimum wage stipulated for farmworkers in the Sectoral Determination 13: Farm Workers Sector. Calculations were immediately done by the Labour Inspectors and a written undertaking was secured from the employer who was willing to pay the shortfall due to the seasonal workers.

This farmer also undertook to accommodate these workers for one more night on his farm and committed to pay the workers before transporting them back to their home province.

“To intensify the crackdown on this unbecoming state of affairs in the Wesselsbron area, a joint operation will be embarked upon starting from today, 02 Sep 2017 in an endeavour to stop this lawlessness by employers. Subsequent to this joint operation, the Department of Labour will be continuing with a week-long Blitz carried out by 7 teams whose mandate would be to sweep the Lejweleputswa district in an effort to root out child labour while protecting vulnerable workers,” said Nomfundo Douw-Jack – the Head of the Department of Labour in Free State.

“I must reiterate that without my formidable team of Inspectors who went beyond the call of duty, none of these gruesome discoveries of the previous week would have been possible. Their dedication, selflessness, zeal and tenacity to protect the most vulnerable members of our society is highly commended,” she concluded.

Source: Government of South Africa

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