Foriegn Workers Entitled To Same Rights As Locals, Says Labour Minister

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In South Africa, labour law gives foriegn workers the same rights as South African workers. However, some political parties are demanding that businesses put South African workers first.


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In South Africa, labour law gives foreign workers the same rights as South African workers. However, some political parties are demanding that businesses put South African workers first.

Minister of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says that foreign workers, like South African workers, are protected by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

The minister adds that there are currently no laws that govern the ratio of employees in the businesses. He does however say the department is trying to introduce legislation to regulate this.

Nxesi said, “we can tell you there are industries where for instance, as you are saying in the restaurants you find that 90% in but that industry, they have employed foreigners”.

He says legislation will look to be introduced to provide clarity around the quotas of people employed in the country. The minister adds that a lot of work has and will be going into a labour migration policy which will regulate the employment of workers.

Nxesi says, “If a national of that particular country can be able to do the job you can't bring people from outside so we are trying to deal with that particular matter but what we cannot be able to do is totally exclude the people because our constitution won't allow that”.

Two political parties in South Africa have made controversial decisions with regard to inspecting businesses around the amount of foriegn employees at companies and the ownership of businesses.

Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema along with a delegation met with the owners of a restaurant in Johannesburg. The party wanted to know the ratio of foreign workers to South African workers employed at the restaurant.

Another political party, the Patriotic Alliance was visiting foriegn owned shops in Eldorado Park to determine which ones were operating illegally.

Nxesi says there are organisations in place that check on complaints around labour. He adds that if political parties are concerned about issues regarding labour, they can report it to their nearest Department of Employment and Labour office.

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