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51 immigrants rescued from ‘slave-like conditions’ in Ekurhuleni factory, the owner still at large

Jun 28, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

On Wednesday, authorities rescued 51 alleged illegal immigrants from a Chinese-owned factory in Ekurhuleni.

Acting on information provided by a whistle-blower, the home Affairs inspectorate visited the factory and was refused entry.

“Home Affairs Inspectorate returned to the factory in a very joint enforcement operation that included the SA Police Service, the Department of Employment and Labour, Ekurhuleni Metro and also the Private Security Industry administrative unit,” says the Department of Home Affairs’ Siya Qoza,

The workers were allegedly forced to figure, eat, and sleep inside the factory.

Qoza says the manager of the factory, who is also a Chinese national, was arrested alongside the 51 illegal immigrants, appeared within the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court and they are all charged under the Immigration Act.”

“The owner of the factory is out of the country. Enforcement officials are investigating a possible case of human trafficking,” says Qoza.

“The 51 were subjected to inhumane and unspeakable working and living conditions said the department.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aron Motsoaledi says some employers are responsible for the matter of illegal workers.

“It’s clear that the problem of illegality is inspired by some employers. This is often not because they’re feeling pity for the illegal migrants, but because they’re using them, they’re distorting the labour market. So, one in all the items we are visiting do, is to consider employers who break the law. Even the problem of the trucks in Ethekwini, some complaints there you’ll realise that the matter was caused by employers, who simply want cheap labour.”

Motsoaledi warned businesspeople who subjected employees to such “atrocious and barbaric” conditions and continued to use illegal migrants that they might face the complete might of the law.

“I would love to thank members of the general public who still provide information that results in arrests of those corrupt syndicates and unscrupulous employers who break our laws,” says Motsoaledi.

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