Labour inspectors can't do random inspections without just cause - dept

Last week, the Economic Freedom Fighters conducted what it said were inspections at some establishments in the hospitality sector, attracting criticism for invading a space despite not being qualified to do so.

EFF leader Julius Malema leaves a Mall of Africa restaurant in Midrand during his visit on 19 January 2022. Picture: EFF/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Employment and Labour Department said that the labour inspectorate service environment was highly regulated in the country and not even inspectors could walk into places randomly without a justifiable cause.

It's called on employers and workers to empower themselves with knowledge to prevent the contravention of their rights, including the Protection of Personal Information as provided for in law.

Last week, the Economic Freedom Fighters conducted what it said were inspections at some establishments in the hospitality sector, attracting criticism for invading a space despite not being qualified to do so.

The department’s Inspector-General Aggy Moiloa said that Sections 64 to 66 in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act spelled out who was appointed as labour inspectors and what their rights and powers were.

"For instance, the right to access any workplace at any time. The right to having access to information and certain documents that is within the law. So we don’t second guess ourselves, it's quite clear," Moiloa said.

She also explained that even appointed inspectors had limitations.

"So it’s a very highly regulated environment, so you can’t just wake up and say today you are going to conduct an inspection even within the department in such and such a place when you do not have the justifiable delegation. Our inspectors have to go through a rigorous process," Moiloa.

While it is not clear whether employers opened their books to the EFF upon its visits last week – doing so would be in contravention of the Protection of Personal Information Act.

WATCH: Malema visits restaurants to assess whether they are employing South Africans