KZN labour issues warning to active non-essential businesses amid lockdown

KZN labour issues warning to active non-essential businesses amid lockdown

The KwaZulu-Natal Labour Department has issued a stern warning to owners of non-essential businesses who are keeping their doors open during the coronavirus lockdown.

Mass screenings at Durban wholesaler over virus fears
Economic development department

As we enter day seven, the department's Lungelo Mkamba said they have been inundated with tip-offs and complaints from non-essential employees saying they are being forced to work. 

READ: Forced labour amid COVID-19 lockdown is a criminal offence

The department says officials will swoop on businesses exploiting workers during the lockdown. 

"It is illegal to force people to work, especially if they are not essential services," Mkamba said. 

There have been several crackdowns in the province. 

At the weekend, workers in Durban North were released after they were forced to sleep, eat and work in a locked factory. The Chinese owner was arrested.  

About 100 people at an Umhlanga call centre were evacuated on Tuesday.  

On Wednesday, officials raided the Sheen-Wha Wholesale Centre in the Durban CBD, after complaints that employees were working in unhygienic conditions. 

Mkamba has encouraged staff to report any local companies that have been flouting the law. 

"We as the department will not be tolerating any non-compliance, and we will not allow a situation where employers put profit before the lives of workers. "

"Our labour inspectors will be knocking on the doors of those employers very soon, to take appropriate action."

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