By Neelam Rahim
Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi says his department is finalising two new documents that can tighten employment laws, including limitations on hiring foreigners.
Nxesi was responding to the blocking of roads by truck drivers on the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal after drivers complained about jobs being taken by both legal and illegal foreign workers.
The drivers complained that they were being overlooked by shipment companies in favour of foreign national drivers.
Nxesi said the government was committed to addressing the problems in a way that ensured the long-term viability of interventions, some of which might require a “longer runway”, attributable to legislative changes.
He said one of the critical ways the government plans to deal with this is often through the proposed National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP).
The first is handling South Africans’ expectations regarding access to figure opportunities, given worsening unemployment and the perception that foreign nationals are distorting labour market access. The NLMP, along with proposed legislation, will introduce quotas on the total number of documented foreign nationals with work visas that may use in major economic sectors like Agriculture, Hospitality and Tourism, Construction, etc.
The NLMP will be complemented by small business interventions and enforcement of a listing of sectors where foreign nationals cannot be allocated business visas and amendments to the little Business Act to limit foreign nationals from establishing SMMEs and trading in some sectors of the economy.
The Department of Home Affairs is reviewing current legislation and strengthening the Border Management Authority to secure porous borders and permit the orderly movement of individuals and other nationals through ports of entry only.
Government plans to increase inspections to enforce existing labour and immigration legislation.