Parliamentary committee wants employment of foreigners investigated

3 March By Nompilo Zulu

Special interest in the employment of foreigners should be investigated, according to Lindelwa Dunjwa, the chairperson of the portfolio committee on employment and labour.

“The issue of [foreign] truck drivers keeps coming up, it means the committee has a lot of work ahead. Employment of foreign nationals is an emotive matter that parliament has to address with urgency and make laws that will be beneficial to the country,” Dunjwa said.

This after the government introduced quotas on the total number of documented foreigners with work visas who can be employed in major economic sectors including agriculture, hospitality and tourism, and construction.

Department of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi announced on Monday released the national labour migration policy (NLMP) for public comment.

Nxesi said the policy will be supplemented by small business intervention and enforcement of a list of sectors where foreigners cannot be allocated business visas, and amendments to the Small Business Act to limit foreigners establishing SMMEs and trading in some sectors of the economy.

The minister said in a statement in February: “The department can attest that there are illegal recruitment practices happening. There are some employers who continue to employ especially undocumented foreign nationals and our citizens, and continue to subject them to inferior labour standards, not declare them in their books and not cover them in terms of existing social protection measures such as the UIF, Pension Fund, and Compensation Fund.

“These practices are illegal, they are unacceptable and it is something that is pre-occupying us daily in the Department of Employment and Labour.”

Nxesi added that the Employment Services Act, No 4 of 2014, sections 8 and 9 compliments the Immigration Act of 2002 in that it prohibits an employer from employing a foreigner without the applicable and valid work visa from Home Affairs.

Dunjwa said the committee has noted the discomfort around the employment of foreigners.

“South Africa is experiencing high unemployment, especially among the youth. As a consequence, this gave rise to a campaign targeting foreign nationals,” said Dunjwa.

“Simmering tensions between formal truck driver groups and foreign truck drivers have been reported and a number of trucks were burnt last year after it was suspected that they were being driven by foreign nationals.

“In the end, the committee must create a conducive environment through fulfilling its oversight role and making of legislation. This is for the good of the country.”

Source: Sunday World at