A KwaZulu-Natal businessman has been given a jail sentence of three years or a R10000 fine for employing an under-age child.
Ramraka Singh, from Stanger, was arrested earlier this year for employing a 14-year-old child as a street vendor selling clothes and cakes.
This was in contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the Lower Tugela magistrate's court handed down the sentence this week.
The Labour Department yesterday said it was a criminal offence to employ a child under 15 years of age. The law further prohibits those who fall under this category from performing employment that is inappropriate.
Singh was found guilty on both counts and the three-year imprisonment was suspended for five years on condition he is not convicted of the same offence during this time.
Labour Department spokesman Zolisa Sigabi welcomed Singh's sentence and warned the same fate would befall anyone caught flouting the law. "It's the responsibility of every South African to help eradicate child labour and report such cases to the nearest labour centre," she said.
The minor in question has since been accepted as a pupil at Enkukhwini Primary School following a joint arrangement by the labour inspectors who arrested Singh and officials of the Social Welfare and Education departments. - Sapa