The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, accompanied by the Deputy Minister, Boitumelo Moloi, recently visited the Eastern Cape with the aim to promote economic transformation and decent work agenda in the Buffalo City Metropolitan and Chris Hani District Municipalities.

The two-day visit commenced with a Stakeholder Briefing Session with employers from various sectors in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.

The Minister had an opportunity to engage employers in a quest to find ways for the department and businesses, to work hand-in hand in unblocking employment opportunities in the area.

Delivering his keynote address, Minister Nxesi told the session that, the new mandate of the department has moved from just regulation of labour laws, to also focus on employment creation and retention. He said this was the time where partnership with the private sector and communities was very critical to come up with projects and programmes that will ensure employment.

Minister Nxesi informed stakeholders on the Unemployment Insurance Fund capital that has been set aside for various training programmes for the unemployed. However, he cautioned that, gone was the time where people apply for millions in the name of training young people, and leaving them in limbo after the programmes complete. “We want training programmes where we are going to approve its content.

Training that is linked to an employer and not just training for the sake of training. Millions have been abused and now, we are trying to invest in quality training. We want meaningful programmes which are going to link people to work and develop future employers,” emphasised the Minister.

Employers who are still exploiting workers and not respecting the labour laws were also cautioned to ready themselves to face the full might of the law for any non-compliance on labour laws. “I must caution that we are going to come very hard especially on security companies.

Regardless of colour, who owns them, even people who claim to be comrades, we just can’t allow people to exploit the workers, reiterated the Minister.

Delivering her message of support, Chris Hani Deputy Executive Mayor Ms Noncedo September, said the municipality which is the biggest employ in the area, viewed the labour legislation and the entire South African labour law regime, as enablers of healthy workplaces with high staff morale, which does not see the law as hindrance to normal operations. She said the municipality appreciated the Ministers’ efforts to inculcate a culture of consequence management in the community. “We have taken the message as the municipality and we will work to improve on our level of compliance.

We have learnt over the years that, compliance with labour laws is something that needs consistence in implementation by political leaders, management, union leaders and the entire workforce,” added Ms September.

Following the session, the Minister with his entourage made an official opening of the Department of Labour Satellite Office situated in the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ). The Satellite Office which has been operating at the ELIDZ premises has been operating from September 2019 and has been utilised by companies in the site for all services provided by the Department. The office will assist the department to reach out to more employers and clients situated in the nearby communities.

With a team comprising of the departments’ Inspector General, Chief Inspector, Provincial Chief Inspector and inspectors from the province, the Minister and Deputy Minister also took part on the planned blitz inspections to visit farms in the Chris Hani District Municipality. At least three farms were visited in Queenstown as a measure to check compliance with labour legislation. Of the three farms, only one was found wanting on numerous contraventions to the Occupational Health and Safety standards. Provincial Chief Inspector Lucky Mkhonto said the Mountain Glen Farm employer, was in arrears of over R400 000 towards Compensation Fund contributions. He said the employer has since paid R100 000 towards the Fund and, the employer was being assisted to calculate and enter into an instalment agreement with the department.
The Minister’s visit was also extended to the Umziwabantu Hospice, were a 64-year-old Mr Mlungisi Sesmani, who is a quadriplegic due to workplace injury, was handed over two wheelchairs (motorised and manual) to make life easier for him.

A similar visit was also made by the Deputy Minister where Mrs Prescilla Ndabeni, a 70-year-old female, was handed over an upper limb prosthesis to replace the hand she lost due to workplace injury.

Running concurrently with the farm visits, Employment and Labour officials were hard at work with the ‘Taking Services to the People’ Campaign, where the department was rendering its services on the spot at Cofimvaba Senior Secondary School. This national campaign is aimed at creating awareness and promoting legislative processes driven by the department, whilst strengthening working relations between the departments’ stakeholders and its clients.
This platform allows the department an opportunity to bring services closer to the people by creating a one stop shop for its clients. The Minister and Deputy Minister made a walkabout at the campaign where they interacted one on one with some of the clients.

Leave a Reply