Labour inspectors locked in by workers
05 February 2021

The Department of Employment and Labour inspectors were locked in by irate workers in the Western Cape business in Hopefield after a prohibition notice was served to stop operations as the company did not adhere to COVID-19 safety regulations and other protocols.


On Wednesday, 3 February 2021, an inspection was conducted at Turnerland following a complaint received.  During the inspection, the company was found to be in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act no. 85 of 1993.


The employer was not available on the premise, did not answer his phone and none of the workers had been left with management responsibilities in his absence. The company was not able to present a risk assessment that spoke to COVID-19 regulations, there was no personal protective equipment provided to staff, there was a general lack of social distancing and no sanitisation. During a walk-about, it was also observed that the company did not follow some of the basic principles associated with the OHS Act. The workers informed the Provincial Chief Inspector (PCI), Mr David Esau, that the employer informed them that there is no need to wear a mask.


According to Esau, part of the inspection process is to inform employees and employers of the findings.  This is what was not well received and the employees, locked the gates of the premises while the inspectors with their departmental vehicles were still on the premises.


The South African Police (SAPS) was called for assistance. SAPS contacted the Mrs Turner as Mr Turner refused to answer his phone. Based on the comprehensive findings, the inspectors attempted to issue a prohibition notice on Mrs Turner, but she refused to accept the notice or to contact her husband. The PCI advised the employees of the risks if they continued with operations, the employees refused to leave the premises, even when Mrs Turner advised them to leave.


A follow-up visit will be conducted on 5 February 2021, to determine if the employer continued with operations as this will be deemed a criminal offence, as the employer was prohibited from continuing operations until evidence is produced that there is compliance with COVID-19 regulations. In the event that the employer continued operation in defiance of the prohibition notice, a referral will be made to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) for the employer to be criminally charged in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993.


OHS inspectors will continue to visit workplaces in the area to monitor compliance, act on tip-offs and implement the necessary actions where required.


Media enquiries:


Venessa Cupido: Acting WC Provincial Communications officer

060 8604 940



Musa Zondi: Acting Departmental Spokesperson


"Please continue adhering to the lockdown regulations. Wash hands or sanitise your hands regularly and wear your mask at all times.




Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour