SA lockdown: Workers at Umhlanga call centre evacuated

SA lockdown: Workers at Umhlanga call centre evacuated

The KZN Economic Development Department says it's investigating CCI South Africa after receiving complaints about the conditions employees have been working in amid the coronavirus outbreak, and if the company has contravened the lockdown regulations.

Nushera Soodyal

There are also questions about whether the company offers an essential service. This forms part of the probe. 

On its website, CCI describes itself as South Africa's largest international contact centre.


The company says it works in the telecommunications, media, retail, energy and insurance businesses in partnership with brands from USA, UK, Australia, and other parts of Africa.


Some of the call centre agents allege that they've been forced to come to work and that they've been threatened with the docking of their salaries if they don't show up for their shifts. 

Some of them say they believe their work doesn't fall within the essential services category.

Economic Development spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya says the decision to remove the workers from the building came after inspectors from the Department of Economic Development's Consumer Protection Unit, Department of Labour and Trade Union Federation, Cosatu interviewed the workers at around noon today.

They have received complaints from workers, alleging that they are working under very difficult conditions so what we have done as the department is, is to ensure that the inspectors do their work in the interest of people of KZN. 

The MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs have appealed to the business community to join hands with the government to ensure that they are all protected this special resource which is our workers.

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Cosatu's Provincial Secretary, Edwin Mkhize says the complaints received against the company are damning.

"Workers were forced to take their leave, they have been told that if they stay at home, it will be unpaid leave," said Mkhize. 

The shutdown started on Friday but already deductions have been made in the salaries of the workers. 

"For some, it is about R2,000, some, it's R700. Over and above that, it is a hazard that these employees are exposed to. There are a number of employees that live in this building," he added. 

Issues such as masks and gloves were only issued to them when they arrived.

" Other issues are that they have been claiming that they have been doing essential work, according to the information we are gathering, there is nothing essential about this service," said Mkhize 

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