So. Africa: Labour department investigation reveals exploitation of workers by security companies

Author: The Citizen (South Africa), Published on: 4 September 2019

‘Mpumalanga security companies exploit guards, labour dept finds’ 29 August 2019

Non-compliance with the law by some Mpumalanga security companies has led to guards being exploited by their employers, the Department of Labour has found. The department discovered that out of 55 private security companies operating in the province, only 23 complied with implementing labour laws, while 22 others failed to obey them. It said some companies were not issuing workers with payslips or failed to pay annual bonuses. About R432,187 was owed to employees due to underpayment and non-payment of annual bonuses. All non-complaint companies were given 14 days to comply or face confirmatory notices.

A week-long inspection blitz by the department last week uncovered non-compliance by some companies through its investigations into the implementation of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Act, and sectoral determination. The department’s acting spokesperson, Makhosonke Buthelezi, said inspectors found 14 employers had contravened the UIF Act by not declaring their employees to the fund as required. Buthelezi added 15 companies had failed to comply with the provisions of the department’s sectoral determination, which is the basic condition of employment for employees in a sector or area. It also regulates minimum wages. Seven companies were found to be not complying with the NMW Act.

 “Other issues of non-compliance relate to failure by employers to enter into proper agreements with employees, and issues of decent work relating to non-issuing of payslips and the failure to pay annual bonuses,” said Buthelezi. The department’s deputy director for advocacy and stakeholder relations, Zoleka Ntshoza, said it had issued a number of compliance orders. “We intend to make follow-up inspections soon. We have given the employers 14 days to comply. In the case of failure to comply, we will issue confirmatory notices, and after that we are no longer going to be engaging with the employers. We will take the employers directly to the CCMA,” added Ntshoza. The department has promised to institute a number of interventions such as conducting continuous advocacy sessions and embarking on outreach programmes to improve compliance. Ntshoza said the department would continue to foster closer working relations with the relevant stakeholders in the sector such as the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), the Private Security Pension Fund, employer organisations and labour.

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