The Department of Labour has asked the Portfolio Committee on Labour for additional funding for 100 posts.
Addressing the committee in Cape Town on Wednesday, the department’s Director General, Thobile Lamati, said the funding would enable the department to address critical areas around Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and employment equity (EE).
He said if the request is accepted, it would cost the department R64 million in line with the original idea of specialisation, as approved by the Minster in 2012.
The R64 million requested is due to Treasury’s withdrawal the previous year.
“Based only on one discipline, for Occupational Health and Safety, the International Labour Organisation benchmark is one inspector for every 20 000 members of the workforce.
“In terms of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (February 2015), South Africa has 15 320 000 employed persons and it therefore means we need 1 011 OHS inspectors for the economically active population … ” Lamati said.
Currently, the department has a total staff establishment of 1 347 inspectors with 1 247 posts filled.
“Even though we have 145 OHS inspectors in the country, the work we have done over the years has enabled us to achieve a lot.
“We met with employers and told them of their responsibilities in terms of promoting OHS. We signed OHS Agreements in construction, iron and steel as well as chemical industries.
“People who are exposing workers to hazardous employment are the employers. We appeal to the committee to ensure we have the necessary funding to employ more inspectors,” Lamati said.
Lumka Yengeni, the portfolio committee chairperson, said her team would support the plan to request Treasury to give back money to the department.
Department of Labour inspectors visit workplaces from time to time to check the level of compliance with labour legislation.
The inspectors are appointed in terms of section 63 (1) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997, as amended to monitor and enforce the following legislation: Basic Conditions of employment Act, 75 of 1997, Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993, Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998, Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 and Unemployment Insurance Act, 30 of 1996 Failure to comply with legislation constitutes a criminal offence. – SAnews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za