Indian foreigners, who were employed by Transnet as artisans to build tanks in the Cape Town Harbour, are set to return home. The move follows calls by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) asking Government to be proactive in securing jobs for South Africans who continue to struggle find employment in this trade.
Provincial secretary for COSATU, Tony Ehrenreich explained that while COSATU welcomes the creation of jobs for South Africans, the union does regret the inconvenienced caused for the employees who travelled from India.
“Home affairs obviously did not do its work; it must ensure that people with special skills that South Africans lack are employed from elsewhere. But if we have the skills and the manpower then we should not employ foreigners,” Ehrenreich said.
He said that government should prioritize the creation of jobs for thousands of South Africans citizens who are unemployed.
“We don’t have the jobs in this country and we know that the skills that are required to build those tanks are the skills that people who work in the doc yard for many years do have.”
Ehreneich further noted that in spite of Government developing policies directed toward creating and improving the job prospects of South Africans, numerous parastatals do not follow through.
He said that the non-compliance of Transnet and other parastatals undermine the entire job creation programme of Government and will consequently act against addressing he challenges faced within communities.
“We are not sure if there are kickbacks for the companies that come in and cheat the labour force or if there are other developments taking place that are not in compliance with the law. We have asked that an investigation is conducted at Transnet so that those who are not complying with government policy are disciplined,” he continued.
Ehreneich further noted that since the employment of foreign labour by local companies makes use of the US-dollar, which stands at 15.8USD to the rand, these transactions essentially cost the state considerably more than employing locals.
“We can’t allow the local industrial capacity and long term objectives to be undermined because some companies want to make more profits by employing cheaper labour,” Ehreneich concluded.