Businesses warned to comply with labour laws or risk prosecution

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The Department of Employment and Labour has warned that businesses that do not comply with the country’s labour laws could face prosecution.

The department’s inspector General Aggy Moiloa led her team on a blitz drive at Southern Sun Hotels in Gauteng as the department embarks on a compliance drive at all Southern Sun facilities countrywide.

This follows an incident that took place at the Southern Sun Hotel in Rosebank on Monday where a section of the building was destroyed by a hailstorm, resulting in the temporary closure of the facility.

Businesses have been warned to expect these uninvited guests.

The Southern Sun hotel group is the first to see labour inspectors visit its facilities countrywide to assess the company’s compliance with the country’s labour laws.

“It was triggered by the incident that happened at Rosebank Southern Sun and proactively we decided that let’s rather look into the whole suits of Southern Sun looking into compliance with all of our labour laws. Because we would like to see compliance, particularly, in the space of occupational health and safety. Non-compliance with that has got very serious ramifications, particularly to human life, so we cannot take that for granted,” says Moiloa.

According to the Inspector-General, all companies operating in the country should have a compliance mechanism in place. This is to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

“We always say we are willing to work with employers that are willing to work with us. We certainly are not looking for perfection, however, we are looking for institutions that are going to make some serious strides to ensure that they comply with all our laws. Every person who is a worker in this country has a right to certain minimum standards. For example, a right to have an employment contract which speaks to what is it that they are going to do and what is it that they are going to be getting and also what they have as privileges and rights, your leaves and so forth,” Moiloa adds.

The Southern Sun Hotel in Rosebank remains closed as investigations and repair work continue. The hotel management spent the day sifting through compliance documents with labour inspectors.

Southern Sun Regional Operational Director Andrew Hosking says, “If I look at the documents referred to this morning that the IG and her team are looking for. All is the documentation we carry as a matter of course. It’s nothing unusual for us. We’ve had the Department of Labour do inspections regularly at our hotels and in every one of those we’ve been compliant and we’ve met the standards that they set. So I have no concern that all of our hotels are compliant and we will answer the questions that they have. It really is a matter of business in South Africa to perform to the expectations of the Department of Labour and we are compliant in that respect.”

The hotel says it will open its doors in the coming two weeks to welcome patrons ahead of the crucial festive season. The department vows to continue with the compliance drive to other companies across the country.

The Inspector General sends a stern caution of prosecution if a company is found wanting and does not adhere to remedial action, especially on the issue of occupational health and safety.