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S. Africa: Serious allegations of human rights abuse and forced labour uncovered in open court

‘Court hears how employees were beaten, sworn at, barred from using toilet at Joburg factory’ 12 May 2021

State witnesses told the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg about “painful” and “difficult” working conditions. He and his colleagues allegedly experienced at a factory in Johannesburg, owned by seven Chinese accused of trafficking. Matola Ndika testified in an ongoing trial against Kevin Tsao, Dai Junying, Chen Hui, Qin Li, Jiaqing Zhou, Ma Biao and Zhang Zhilian. Defendants face 160 charges, including trafficking, kidnapping, and labor law violations…He also claimed to have witnessed one of the accused attacking him with his bare hands and one of his colleagues being beaten with a broom. “Life was very difficult,” he told the court on Wednesday. Ndika also told the court that when he was 14, he arrived in South Africa from Malawi in an attempt to escape poverty.

…He said he came to South Africa by taxi without a passport. When he arrived, he was hired by one of the seven accused in Benoni and paid R85 a day. He said he worked from 19:00 to 07:00. Ndika told the court that the container was later transferred to the defendant’s company called Beautiful City Pty Ltd in Village Deep, Johannesburg.

…Defendant Arrested on November 12, 2019 after surgery News24 was previously reported by the Inspection and Execution Services Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labor in Houten, the Police, the Ministry of Interior and the Hawks. The suspect allegedly trafficked undocumented migrants to South Africa and exposed them to forced labor from April 2017 to 2019. It is estimated that 91 Malawi people, including children, were found in the factory. The trial will continue on Thursday. The court heard how employees were beaten, sworn in, and banned from using the toilet at a factory in Johannesburg