Foreign nationals found ‘sleeping in appalling conditions’ at building site

Gauteng department of employment and labour inspectors stopped construction operations at a site in Johannesburg pending the construction company’s compliance with labour laws.

Inspectors swooped on the mall under construction on Main Reef Road and Dorado Avenue on Thursday. They were accompanied by police, the home affairs department’s immigration unit and crime prevention wardens.

The blitz led to the arrest of several foreign nationals working at the construction site.

They were taken in to verify whether they have legal work permits and immigration documents.

Gauteng chief inspector Michael Msiza said the construction company was served with a prohibition notice.

“In the joint operations (inspections), we are focusing on the construction sector. Today [Thursday] we decided to come to Crown Mines where it is alleged there is a construction of a mall. When we arrived here we found noncompliance in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act,” said Msiza.

He said they found people sleeping in appalling conditions on-site and halted operations.

“We are aware that the department of home affairs has taken in a lot of people who they suspect might be in the country without documentation.”

The construction company has not confirmed if it has a first-aid kit in case of injuries at the site, it said.