Labour DG appeals to Parliament for more inspectors

APRIL 29, 2015

The Department of Labour has made an impassioned plea to the portfolio committee on labour for additional funding of 100 posts in order to strengthen the inspectorate.

Addressing the committee in Cape Town on Wednesday, Thobile Lamati, Director General said the funding would enable the department to address critical areas around Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and employment equity (EE).

He said if the request was to be accepted; it would cost the department R64 million in line with original idea of specialisation as approved by the minster in 2012.

The R64 million requested was due to withdrawal by treasury the previous year.

Lamati said “Based only on one discipline, for Occupational Health and Safety, the International Labour Organisation benchmark is one inspector for every 20 000 members of the workforce. In terms of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (February 2015) South Africa has 15 320 000 employed persons and it therefore means we need 1011 OHS inspectors for the economically active population but for employed works would require 766 inspectors.

"Currently the department has a total staff establishment of 1347 inspectors with 1247 filled.

“Even though we have 145 OHS inspectors in the country, the work we have done over the years has enabled us to achieve a lot.”

“We met with employers and told them of their responsibilities in terms of promoting OHS. We signed OHS Agreements in Construction, Iron and Steel as well as Chemical industries. People who are exposing workers to hazardous employment are the employers. We appeal to Committee to ensure we have necessary funding to employ more inspectors”.

Lumka Yengeni, the Portfolio Committee Chairperson said her team would support the plan to request treasury to give back the money to the department.