Labour inspectors beaten up

2008-10-03 00:00

Two labour inspectors were assaulted and held hostage at a Pietermaritzburg firm while investigating an attack on a Zimbabwean national who was allegedly burnt on the premises.

The Labour Department inspectors are recovering from shock and trauma following the assault at Pearl Transport in Willowton, where they were held hostage for half an hour.

Following the injury to Zimbabwean Ian Madzogo, the department assigned two inspectors to request a report from his employers. The two inspectors arrived at 8.30 am on Thursday and asked to see the employer.

A source close to the inspectors said two men then identified themselves as the employers.

It is alleged that the beating and hostage drama started when the inspectors asked them for the required information.

“They started beating the inspector while the other pleaded with them to stop.”

The inspectors were prevented from leaving for more than 30 minutes.

“The inspectors phoned a senior official, who managed to negotiate their release over the phone.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Pietermaritzburg has called on the department to protect its employees.

“We will make all means to ensure that perpetrators are severely punished and face consequences,” it said.

Cosatu provincial leadership visited Madzogo in hospital last month and vowed to ensure that his attackers are brought to book.

Department spokesman Page Boikanyo said inspectors were investigating Madzogo’s injury, although if it was the result of an assault, the department does not have jurisdiction under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“Our inspectors went to the company to investigate the matter in respect of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.”

The matter was reported to the police and Inspector Joey Jeevan said a case of common assault has been opened.

The two men accused of the attempted murder of Madzogo were released on bail last week and will appear in court again on October 24.

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