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30 Jun 2022

Faizel Patel, The Citizen (South Africa)

S. Africa: 51 undocumented immigrants rescued from alleged slavery at a Chinese-owned factory in Ekurhuleni

‘Home affairs condemns ‘slave-like’ working conditions at Chinese factory in Ekurhuleni’ 23 June 2022

The Department of Home Affairs has condemned the slavery of human beings at a plastic factory in Alrode, Alberton. A Home Affairs-led law enforcement operation swooped in on the Chinese owned factory on Monday after receiving information from a whistleblower about the slave-like conditions, but was refused entry by security. Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said after being barred to enter the premises, the Home Affairs Inspectorate returned to the factory on Wednesday in a joint law enforcement operation that included other authorities.

As much as Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi is strongly against the breaking of immigration laws, in the same vein, he equally condemns the abuse and exploitation of any human being, in this case, the fifty-one illegal migrants from Malawi, Zimbabwe and China, who were forced to work, eat and sleep inside a plastic factory in Alberton, in Ekurhuleni.” “The fifty-one were subjected to inhumane and unspeakable working and living conditions in a factory owned by a Chinese national. This operation led to the arrest of these fifty-one illegal migrants,” said Qoza. Qoza added that the manager of the factory, a Chinese national, was also arrested.

“She, together with the 51 appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court on Thursday 23 June and they all have been charged in terms of section 49 of Immigration Act. The owner of the factory is out of the country.” Motsoaledi issued a stern warning to business people who subject human beings to such atrocious and barbaric acts and continue to employ illegal migrants that they will face the full might of the law. “I would like to thank members of the public who continue to provide information that leads to arrests of these corrupt syndicates and unscrupulous employers who break our laws,” said Motsoaledi.