Farm inspections: No appointments needed

2011-08-08 17:57

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.

  • Georgp2 - 2011-08-08 18:20

    I would think a farmer also stays in a home

  • Mundu - 2011-08-08 18:28

    Farmers need to mechanize and use sub contractors. Get rid of all their workers. It's these F****** that do the killing.

  • R.I.P - 2011-08-08 18:40

    When no appointment is made and the farmer's dogs attack the inspector the labour dept will blame the farmer.

      Francois - 2011-08-08 21:24

      Only if the dogs get rabies?

      Creeky - 2011-08-08 21:48

      Reminds me of that joke... where the Govt official arrives on the farms.... tells the farmer he has the RIGHT to inspect ANY piece of land because he is a CARD CARRYING MEMBER OF GOVT!!!! Whips out his "CARD" flashes it to the farmer and goes about his business. Farmer tells him to NOT ENTER "THAT" pieceo of LAND, fenced off with GUM POLES!!! Govt official SHOUTS " I AM A GOVT OFFICIAL, AND HERE IS MY CARD.... I CAN GO WHERE I WANT TO.......OK?" " DID YOU HEAR ME WHITE MAN?" Farmer says ok...Farms is at your disposal!! Little while later the Govt Official is running across the field, with a very ERECT BULL behind him... shouting for the farmer.... Farmer susses out the whole scenario and shouts to the Govt Official.... "SHOW HIM YOUR CARD!!!!! SHOW HIM YOUR CARD!!!!!"

      Bill - 2011-08-08 21:49

      Luckily dogs can't get Aids...!

      ItbeI - 2011-08-22 09:25

      I do not think my dogs will allow them to get out the car. In fact I do not think they will want to get out the car. I think when they get there I will go and have another beer whilst my dog keeps them in their car

  • Georgp2 - 2011-08-08 18:41

    What does an inspector look like any different than a murderer or a thief. Sorry but OHASA officials can then walk into any Military yard as well. I can only think that the ones refused did not have any proof or where 10 days late for there appointment. A recent Blitz implies no appointment the author of this article must be mad. Info on books and documents even bank accounts it implies. Maybe this Siayande went to school with Juliass by making a statement like this all by himself not consulting any law

  • Fossiel - 2011-08-08 18:45

    So, police needs a warrant to enter a place, when they know there are criminals/criminal activities. DOH inspectors need a search warrant even if they know there are counterfeit medicines. Labour inspectors can just enter?

  • Met - 2011-08-08 18:48

    How does a farmer differentiate between a farm murderer, a policeman and a labour inspector? They live in dangerous times and with all these farm attacks,what should he do? Shoot and ask questions later?

      DoublySalmon - 2011-08-08 21:25

      I agree, too many farmers have been killed to allow anyone on the property.

  • MnrFotograaf - 2011-08-08 20:16

    How about the inspectors have the decency to fist call and make an appointment, like is normal in any business environment or social environment. Secondly farmers could surely charge for their time as well?

      Francois - 2011-08-08 23:24

      No actually they cannot. Inspection is a judicial function, just as a car inspection for roadworthiness. You cannot ask money if you are being checked whether you comply with the law. However, this does not give anybody the right to be rude, thus let the law ride. If an inspector is late, report him or her or the dogs may.

  • ItbeI - 2011-08-22 09:23

    I think it is only a matter of common decency for the inspectors going to a farm to phone ahead. Farmers are nervous with all farm attacks and fraudulent people acting as police officers or members of the state. I think the least the labour party can do is to phone ahead. I have locked my boundary gate and that has nothing to do with this issue it has to do with poachers driving onto my farm at night and shooting what they want. The department of labour is more than welcome to come and visit as they have done frequently in the past. But at least a phone call so I can unlock for them to get onto the farm

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