Farm inspections: No appointments needed
Pretoria - Claims that on-farm inspections must be done with prior arrangement with farmers are untrue, the labour department said on Monday.
"This is completely inaccurate and misleading to the farmers who are willing to work with the department and comply with the legislation," inspection and enforcement director general Siyanda Nxawe said in a statement.
This followed recent reports quoting an agricultural labour consultant saying the Basic Conditions of Employment Act required department officials to apply for appointments with farmers in writing before inspections.
Nxawe dismissed this as a "reckless statement".
According to both the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act inspectors could enter any workplace without prior notice.
Employer fined for not giving inspector entry
Section 65 of the Employment Act, which addresses powers of entry, states that in order to monitor and enforce compliance a labour inspector may, without warrant or notice, at any reasonable time, enter any workplace and any other place where an employer carries on business or keeps records.
Nxawe said the only place where a labour inspector may enter with the owner's consent is a home.
During a recent blitz in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, labour inspectors were denied access to farms, even after they made written appointments. Nxawe said this forced the department to turn to courts.
One such employer in the wholesale and retail industry was fined R10 000 for refusing to let an inspector in.
Section 29 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates that an inspector may without notice enter any premises occupied or used by an employer.
The inspector can question any person on the premises and require books or documents for examination, from whoever has control over such books.
Nxawe said by law employers, including farmers, had to comply.