Parliament, Thursday, 14 March 2019 – The Portfolio Committee on Labour yesterday (13 March) adopted its legacy report, which provides a detailed account of the work it conducted during the fifth parliamentary term from 2014 to 2019. The committee’s mandate includes monitoring the performance of the Department of Labour and its entities.
The report is also a guide for Members of the sixth Parliament to the important outstanding issues pertaining to the committee’s oversight and legislative programme, as well as observations and recommendations for the department and the committee in the sixth Parliament. The committee noted the illegal engagement of foreign nationals in the clothing and textile industry in KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, and recommended further investigation.
During one of many oversight visits, the committee also discovered that some foreign nationals working on farms in Mpumalanga did not have the documents required for immigrant workers. Farm owners in Mpumalanga complained of competition from farmers in neighbouring countries, where they say labour is cheaper. The committee also reported that farm workers are often unaware of their rights, which made them susceptible to exploitation, a problem that is compounded by the seasonal nature of farm work.
The committee processed a number of Bills during the fifth parliamentary term, including the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill , the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill , the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the National Minimum Wage Bill. The National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill is expected to be completed on 19 March 2019.
The committee recommended that the Minister of the Department of Labour fill vacant posts without delay. The department should also make full use of its Internal Audit and Audit committees and then implement their reports, to avoid negative findings from the Auditor-General. The Inspection and Enforcement Services programme must also be adequately resourced, so that suitably qualified inspectors can be appointed.
Funding for Productivity SA should be provided in line with the proposed single-funder mechanism, to enable the entity to fulfil its mandate. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration also needs to be adequately funded, so that it can implement its statutory obligations in terms of the national minimum wage, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act.
The committee recommended to the department that incidents of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure must be investigated, while officials who are found to have flouted regulations must face remedial action.
For the full report, contact the committee secretary, Mr Zolani Sakasa, on 021 403 3735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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