- The state plans to limit the number of foreign nationals allowed to work in certain sectors of the South African economy
- Employment policy is in the pipeline with a possibility of sectoral quotas in these sectors
- However, the government has denied that its intentions are xenophobic
The South African government is planning to limit the number of foreign nationals working in certain sectors of the economy.
An employment policy is currently being developed by the Department of Employment and Labour, with Minister Thulas Nxesi potentially standing to gain the legal right to set quotas for foreign nationals in some sectors.
Employment and labour director-general Thobile Lamati explained to Member of Parliament that.
Government is planning to restrict the number of foreign nationals working in certain sectors of the economy.
"This is not a new thing. It happens all over the world. It is part of labour market employment policies. We think that employment policy will go a long way in addressing the number of challenges we have in the labour market."
Nxesi elaborated that certain industries were infamous for choosing to hire foreign nationals, in some cases, this has to do with skill, while sometimes it is simply exploiting cheap labour.
"You can't sit with millions of unemployed South Africans and in certain industries you just allow non-South Africans to be employed without any regulation," the minister said in a virtual meeting of parliament's two labour committees."
Once in place, these quotas will need to be religiously adhered to, with Nxesi denying any xenophobic intentions.
"We must introduce those quotas and stick to those quotas and be very hard to those quotas. However, in doing this it was important not to be seen to be xenophobic or violating international conventions that SA has signed. It is going to be a balancing act."
SowetanLIVE reports that Democratic Alliance labour spokesperson Michael Cardo has dubbed the proposal as 'mad and dangerous'.
"It would be a nasty exercise in social engineering and whenever and wherever that has been tried throughout history has had ugly consequences."
Briefly.co.za reported that Nxesi had earlier urged employers to do the right thing and pay employees Covid-19 UIF funds after it emerged that some bosses were pocketing payments.
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