Strip club case sent to Human Rights Commission
Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court on Friday referred a case involving the right of Mavericks strip club in Cape Town to employ "exotic dancers" to the Human Rights Commission.
Judge Siraj Desai said in his judgment the conditions under which foreign dancers were procured, housed, and expected to work made them "susceptible to exploitation".
"The so-called exotic dancers come to this country having concluded a flimsy one-sided contract," he said.
"They are guaranteed nothing. They have to share a room for which they pay a rent on a weekly basis. They are not paid at all and given no benefits whatsoever.
"I shall refer this matter to the Human Rights Commission for it to investigate whether the human rights of the dancers are being infringed and, if so, what steps can be taken to alleviate their plight."
Mavericks had held two corporate permits which were issued in its favour by the department of home affairs in 2005 and 2006. The permits entitled the club to employ 200 foreign workers as exotic dancers.
In October last year, however, the department withdrew the permits, arguing that Mavericks was not complying with the Immigration Act.
The director general of the department issued a directive that the replacement of certificates issued under the corporate permits should also be refused.
Ongoing unlawful conduct
Mavericks sought an order suspending the department's decisions until the final application for review of the decision had been heard.
The club argued that the director general of the department had acted in "flagrant breach of the law and its obligations".
Exotic dancers were employees of Mavericks and were in compliance with the Immigration Act, it argued.
Desai said in his judgment that there appeared to have been good and sufficient cause to withdraw the permits by the department.
"Accordingly there is no prospect that Mavericks will be able to set aside the DG's decision in the intended review," he said.
The balance of convenience weighed heavily against Mavericks in the case.
"The reasons for the withdrawal of the corporate permits are essentially that Mavericks has failed to comply with the act, the immigration regulations, and the corporate worker authorisation certificates.
"It should not be allowed to continue operating as if the permits have not been withdrawn."
Desai added that Mavericks has "demonstrated ongoing unlawful conduct and currently employ several persons illegally".
The application by Mavericks was dismissed with costs.