Clampdown on Southern Cape businesses over Covid-19 non-compliance

9 July 2020 by Siphokazi Vuso

Cape Town – The Department of Employment and Labour in the Western Cape is clamping down on businesses in the Southern Cape this week amid complaints of non-compliance.

The department said its inspectors would visit employers in George, Mossel Bay and Knysna to check compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.

“Just a few weeks ago, businesses in Knysna received a reality check when their operations and trading were shut down due to non-compliance with the OHS Act and Covid-19 regulations.

“This was after six out of 10 businesses were served with prohibition notices in Knysna CBD. This time around, an even larger contingency of inspectors will come to the area,” the department said.

Knysna Municipality spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhout said some local businesses were found not to be fully compliant with the Covid-19 regulations, but through the efforts of the Local Joint Operations Command Centre (JOC), they had managed to enforce compliance. 

“As the custodians of safe labour practices, we have through our JOC pro-actively engaged (the department) in trying to solicit a strong partnership towards ensuring that businesses adhere to Covid-19 regulations so as to safeguard both the lives of their workers and customers equally,” he said.

The George Municipality referred questions to the Department of Labour. “Note that compliance with Covid-19 regulations within the workplace or business does not fall within the mandate of municipality,” it said.

Mossel Bay Municipality spokesperson Nickey le Roux said: “The municipality supports the department’s efforts to ensure the health and well-being of the greater Mossel Bay community.”

The department’s provincial chief inspector, David Esau, said there would also be responses to complaints at various workplaces.

“Workers and partners alike need to take a stand and report employers who flout regulations,” he said. 

Esau said the intention was not to permanently close businesses, but to get businesses to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations as set out in the law.

Source: IOL at