Three suspects – two women and a man – have been arrested by Gauteng police after they allegedly went to different businesses in the Marabastad area, impersonating labour inspectors from the Department of Employment and Labour.
“The three undocumented foreign nationals are accused of going from store to store to check compliance with labour laws and requested Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) documents. Suspicious employers began to discuss the suspicious inspectors on their WhatsApp group and called the police,” said departmental spokesperson in Gauteng Mishack Magakwe.
“When SAPS officers questioned them, they discovered that the suspects were in possession of forged contracts implying that they were working in collaboration with the Department of Employment and Labour, South African Revenue Services (SARS), and the Amandebele Kingdom.”
The three had allegedly forged the documents which were in their possession, including fake labour inspectors’ cards, which they were using to gain access into different workplace premises.
Magakwe warned that it is a criminal offence to pose as a labour inspector or to perform such functions at a workplace.
“The department emphasises that it is a criminal offence under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act for anyone to pose as a labour inspector and perform any functions related to labour inspection,” he said.
“The department would like to emphasise that it has no contract with any company to conduct inspections on its behalf, and it would like employers to be extra cautious. The department commends employers for their vigilance, which resulted in the arrest of the three suspects.”
The department appoints employment and labour inspectors in accordance with Section 63 (1) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997, as amended, to monitor and enforce the following legislation:
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– The Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997, as amended;
– Compensation for Occupational Injury and Disease Act, No. 130 of 1993;
– Employment Equity Act, No. 55 of 1998;
– Occupational Health and Safety Act, No. 85 of 1993;
– Unemployment Insurance Act, No. 30 of 1996.
Magakwe said bona fide labour inspectors could easily be identified by features, including their uniforms.
“To avoid becoming a victim of a con artist posing as a labour inspector, the department recommends that you keep the following in mind: Genuine inspectors can be identified by their inspector identification card, which bears the departmental logo, as well as their trademark uniforms. These are created in advance of the inspection,” he said.
“The department wishes to reiterate and unequivocally state that it has no agreements or partnerships with any employment websites in South Africa, nor has it authorised any organisation to charge a fee for services rendered by the department.”
The Department of Employment and Labour has appealed to employers to be vigilant.
“Employers must exercise extreme caution and report any suspicious visits or requests to SAPS or the department’s local offices. If employers are concerned about the inspector’s visit, they can check the credentials with the department’s nearest office,” Magakwe added.