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Foreign nationals arrested for masquerading as labour inspectors

Three illegal immigrants posing as labour inspectors were arrested after raiding South African businesses in Pretoria with the intent of extorting bribes from employers saying they were breaking labour laws.

Employers began chatting on a WhatsApp group and alerted the police after becoming suspicious that bogus inspectors were on the prowl to swindle them.

Mishack Magakwe, a spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Employment and Labour, said three suspects, two women and a man, aged 32, 33, and 45, were arrested for impersonating labour inspectors on Thursday last week at Boom Street in Marabastad, north-west of Pretoria.

“We congratulate employers for their vigilantism, which culminated in the arrest of three perpetrators.” said Magakwe.

According to Magakwe the trio went from store to shop to check for labour law compliance and demanded documentation from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

“When the suspects were questioned by the police, it was revealed that they had forged contracts claiming to work for the Department of Employment and Labour, the South African Revenue Services, and Amandebele Kingdom,” Magakwe added.

He said suspects were found  to be in possession of forged documents, including phony labour inspector’s identification cards, which they used to obtain entry to working premises, he added.

Magakwe cautioned that anybody caught impersonating as a labour inspector and performing labour inspection responsibilities will be prosecuted under the Basic Working Conditions Act.

“We want to clarify that the department does not have a signed contract with individuals to conduct inspections on its behalf,” Magakwe added.

Magakwe said that the department wanted to state unequivocally that it had no agreements or relationships with the employment agency and that it did not allow any organisation to pay for services provided.

“Employers should be vigilant and report any suspicious visits or solicitations to the police or local departmental offices. If employers are concerned about an inspector’s visit, they can verify credentials at the nearest departmental office.” .added Magakwe.

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