Labour warns against social media scammers

By  SAnews.gov.za

The Department of Employment and Labour has reiterated its warning to the public to remain vigilant of a scam that continues unabated on social media, promising a pay out of between R33 000 and R35 000.

Department spokesperson Teboho Thejane said the scammers have re-created a fake Department of Employment and Labour website using the old coat of arms/logo in which they ask members of the public to check if their names appear on the list of those that are entitled to withdraw these funds.

Thejane said the fake website claims that workers who have worked between 1990 and 2020 have the right to get R35 000 from the department.

“The Department of Employment and Labour has not asked anyone to come forward to receive any of these benefits and will never do so in a manner that it is done through this website. All the benefits from the department are received by those that have worked for them or are entitled to receive them, and are processed at its 125 offices that are spread across the country,” Thejane said.

Thejane advised members of the public to visit the Department of Employment and Labour Provincial Offices, or a nearest Labour Centre to seek information.

“Members of the public are also cautioned to refrain from sharing information as they are assisting the scammers to reach out to many unsuspecting people; and are also advised to not share their personal information on these social media platforms or websites as they are not authentic. The department’s suite of services is offered free of charge to the public,” Thejane said.

To report any suspected criminal acts, members of the public are requested to inform the South African Police Service; report on the department’s fraud hotline number 08600 22 194 or email: fraud@labour.gov.za (link sends e-mail) and, or visit the nearest department office.

Western Cape call centre shuts down operations

Meanwhile, the Department of Employment and Labour in the Western Cape has closed down operations at a local call centre after contravening the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act no. 85 of 1993.

The African Debt Advisors (ADA) was shut down following a tip-off, which led to the reactive inspection at the work place on Wednesday.

According to Provincial Chief Inspector (PCI) David Esau 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, and there was a general lack of social distancing and poor 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 company was found to be in contravention of the environmental regulations on fire prevention as all fire equipment was outdated.

“Based on the comprehensive findings, the employer was issued with a prohibition notice and asked to vacate the premises. Prohibition notices essentially means that no operations may take place at the premises where the notice was served,” Esau said.

Esau said the department is also in the process of issuing a subpoena to the employer to appear before the PCI to explain the absence of documents required to follow up on allegations of defrauding the COVID-TERS system and the exploitation of workers.

This comes after the employer was also inspected in respect of the Unemployment Insurance Act. 

“The employer has been asked to provide information of employees listed on the payroll, an approved and rejected list of employees under the COVID-TERS benefit for applications made for April, May and June 2020. The information is expected to also include advances made to staff, deductions, and a list of staff who did not work for the set period and also did not receive COVID-TERS.

“A follow-up visit will be conducted 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,” Esau said.

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