Public warned of conman

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The department of labour in KwaZulu-Natal has warned employers and members of the public to be on the lookout for a conman pretending to be a labour inspector.

He offers to help claimants in exchange for huge sums of money.

Labour spokesman, Zolisa Sigabi, said it has come to their attention that someone is conning unsuspecting employers by promising to help them with labour issues.

"We have received complaints from two employers in the Tongaat area who claimed to have fallen prey, together with other shop owners, to the bogus inspector.

"He seems to know a thing or two about labour laws and he promises to help them.

"He targets mainly shops employing women," said Sigabi.

Sigabi said the bogus inspector has been described as an elderly person with a beard and he calls himself Mr Ngcobo.

"Our labour inspectorate is busy investigating and once the complaints have been verified and the man has been caught, we will then involve the SAPS to arrest him.

Any person in doubt is advised to call the Labour Centre at Verulam on 032-533-5050.

All inspectors of the department are expected to produce an identification card with their photo and the departmental logo.

Meanwhile, Sigabi said the formal probe into the exposure of workers to poisonous fumes at the Assmang plant in Cato Ridge, near Durban, will resume on Monday.

"The five-day inquiry at the Cato Ridge Club is a sequel to the department's November 2006 probe that had been triggered by reports of five workers believed to be suffering from possible manganese poisoning," said Sigabi.

He said they aim to establish the level of manganese fumes or dust exposure to workers, and

l Whether the employer has fulfilled the legal obligation of preventing exposure as prescribed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

l Whether control mechanisms were put in place by the employer.

l Who will be held responsible for the exposure.