- The Labour Ministry of South Africa today warned employers and members of the public to be on the alert following criminal incidents by bogus labour officials in several parts of the country over the past few weeks. Several robberies have been registered.
In the latest incident, a Krugersdorp employer west of Johannesburg was robbed of rand 6,000 cash by armed men who had entered his premises masquerading as labour inspectors, according to reports from the South African government.
According to reports from the police, the robbers usually prey on isolated workplaces, including farms and in some cases demand instant payments of Unemployment Insurance Fund contributions, "which is illegal," according to Page Boikanyo from the Labour Ministry.
In the province of Northern Cape, a middle-aged man is said to be going around extorting money from employers by making them pay for the Department’s posters, pamphlets and legislation documents. In some instances the suspect, who operates mainly in the province's rural areas, poses as a "labour consultant" and charge employers exorbitant fees.
In the North West province, a joint operation by Department of Labour officials and Christiana police had resulted in the brief detention of a suspect for questioning last week. This followed complaints by Taung residents through a South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) radio programme about a man who was charging rand 80 for rendering the department's services.
"Employers are urged to note that genuine Labour inspectors are unarmed, never accept cash payments and properly identify themselves with cards bearing their photographs and official logos of the Department," Ms Boikanyo said in a statement today. "Any suspicious looking operators should be reported immediately to the nearest police station," she added.
Criminals in South Africa come up with new tricks at a faster pace than the country's overwhelmed police officers are able to keep up with. In particular armed robberies have been impossible to impede as robbers quickly develop new strategies to overcome new security routines. The national crime rate is nevertheless reported to be slowly lowering, in particular regarding murder and armed robbery.
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