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So.Africa: Authorities uncover illegally-run factory using child labour and forced labour

Author: Naledi Shange, Sunday Times (South Africa), Published on: 19 November 2019

‘Joburg factory bust for employing children and illegal immigrants under 'horrific' conditions’ 16 November 2019

The Hawks and the labour department this week uncovered an illegally-run Chinese factory in Johannesburg which not only employed children and illegal immigrants, but also subjected them to extremely cheap and forced labour. In a statement posted on the government’s website, the labour department’s chief inspector in Gauteng, Adv Michael Msiza said his inspectors who were there during the bust “expressed shock and disgust” as this was “the most grim site they have ever come across”. He likened the operation to “modern-day slavery”, saying it would not be tolerated in SA.

“Such barbaric acts have no place in our democratic state that upholds and promotes freedom, equality and human dignity. There is no human dignity in locking in employees and violating their rights in employment, including a right to earn a minimum wage and to be covered regarding social security,” Msiza said. The group of illegal immigrants from Malawi is said to have been locked up behind high steel gates at premises known as “Beautiful City” in Village Deep. The workers had limited movement, were expected to work seven days a week, with earnings of R65 a day.

…The factory specialised in creating the inner cotton of blankets using recycled clothing. “Inspectors found minor children, who are alleged to be around the age of 15,” read the statement from the labour department. “The employer was [allegedly] violating the suite of labour legislation ranging from the National Minimum Wage, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act,” said the department. “[On] request to go on leave, they are informed to never come back. Employees lived on the premises in uninhabitable conditions. The employer failed to provide employees with information concerning remuneration and they do not have contracts,” the department added.

Read the full post here