Department of Employment and Labour: Republic of South Africa

The principle of fair labour practice is a fundamental right that is enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which is the supreme law of the land. Furthermore, the Labour Relations Act of 1995; and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 give effect to the principle of fair labour practice. These pieces of legislation also prescribe recourse for employees who feel that their rights have been trampled upon.

The premise of our legislation is predicated upon protecting all employees despite their nationality as long as employment relationship can be identified. The same rights accorded to a South African employee, such rights apply to foreign national employees. That means they are entitled to conditions of employment and prescribed minimum wage. Any employer who departs from this principle because an employee is a foreign national violates our laws.

The right of enforcing compliance with the legislation resides with the Department of Employment and Labour. In the area where a sector is covered by a bargaining council collective agreement, the bargaining council have the right to enforce conditions of their collective agreement.  While it is the intention of the Department to ensure all employers comply with legislation, it is also the responsibility of employees to fully ensure their rights are respected and should an employer violate their rights, they can lay their complaints with the appropriate forum.

We prevail upon any organization or political party that feels or come across non-compliance with the labour laws to raise such matter with the Department of Employment and Labour or bargaining council if such a sector falls under the jurisdiction of a bargaining council. We intercede with such an organization to act cautiously and within the ambit of the law. One cannot seek to see the enforcement of the law by breaking the law too.

Any violence in seeking to identify areas of noncompliance with the law is counterproductive to the principle of labour market stability and labour peace which are highly coveted in attracting foreign investment that is so badly needed to fight unemployment, inequalities and poverty that bedevil our labour market. I, therefore, intercede with anyone or organization that intends to identify areas of non-compliance with our labour laws to act cautiously and show character by desisting from violence and intimidation; said Minister Nxesi.

The Government is also dealing with regulations that deal with the employment of foreign workers in South Africa.  It is imperative to wait for the process to be completed rather than parties acting outside the law which will be tantamount to breaking the law.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Employment and Labour: Republic of South Africa.

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