handcuffsIndependent News reports that a Durban-based factory has been caught forcing employees to work overtime and sleep at the premises in order to produce masks needed for the Covid-19 crisis.  

The discovery was made on Sunday by inspectors from the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Consumer Protection Unit of the economic development, tourism and environmental affairs department.  According to the department’s MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, someone blew the whistle and the inspectors promptly swooped on the business.  The owner of the factory was arrested as the workers were allegedly subjected to inhumane working conditions.  The 14 employees were mainly from Kwamashu, Ntuzuma and Umlazi townships within Durban.  Inspectors from the Department of Employment and Labour are reportedly conducting an investigation in relation to the violation of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Occupational and Safety Act.  Dube-Ncube also voiced displeasure that security guards employed by KZN Crime Extinguishers to guard the factory harassed and pointed automatic rifles at the inspectors and she has since asked law enforcement agencies to investigate the company.

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