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Child labour lands Eastern Cape farmer hefty fine

by lloyd last modified 2008-09-30 12:11

An Eastern Cape farmer became the latest to taste the government’s lash on child labour offenders when last week the Peddie Magistrate’s Court fined him R5 000 for employing 19 under-aged children.

Released by Department of Labour on 15 April 2008

An Eastern Cape farmer became the latest to taste the government’s lash on child labour offenders when last week the Peddie Magistrate’s Court fined him R5 000 for employing 19 under-aged children.

 

Mlungisi Mantana, owner of the Siyazama Cotton Project in the Prudhoe Administrative Area, was arrested in March during a raid by Labour inspectors, following employers’ complaints with the local police for failure to pay out due wages.

 

The court found Mantana guilty of employing the 19 children in breach of the laws stipulating the age limit, and for causing five other youths to perform duties inappropriate for their age – although they are within the required age limit – placing at risk their wellbeing, physical, mental, spiritual, morally and socially.

 

The court found that the children had entered into an oral agreement contract with the employer, agreeing to be paid R25.00 per day – a contravention of the sectoral determination on farm worker sector which prescribes R5.07 per hour, and therefore requiring the employer to pay R30.42 as the children worked for 6 hours per day .

 

Although their work entailed reaping cotton in the fields, no protective clothing was supplied to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

 

The magistrate fined Mantana R5000.00 or/plus 9 months imprisonment suspended for 3 years on condition he is not found guilty of contravening Section 43 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act during that period.

 

Welcoming the outcome, Labour Spokesperson Zolisa Sigabi said: “Child labour is a criminal offence. Employers have an obligation to adhere to the law or face the consequences.





 

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