What minister really said

In the article "Ruling frees 'the invisible' Chinese" (July 17) your reporter claims Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana criticised the court ruling declaring South African Chinese part of the previously disadvantaged.

In the article "Ruling frees 'the invisible' Chinese" (July 17) your reporter claims Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana criticised the court ruling declaring South African Chinese part of the previously disadvantaged.

He is reported as saying the government did not allow Chinese employers to mistreat workers or pretend to inspectors that they could not speak a South African language.

Nothing is further from the truth. Mdladlana and the other ministers who were respondents in the case unanimously decided not to oppose the action. So it makes no sense that he would "criticise" a ruling in a case he had chosen not to contest.

What he said was that the judge "had taken a wise decision" and he and his counterparts "had acted wisely" by not opposing the decision because within the context of labour legislation an employer's race or origin is irrelevant.

What he said about South African Chinese employers was that he hoped they would abide by the country's labour laws.

He cited examples of Chinese employers being involved in serious violations of worker rights. He is on record as publicly lambasting black employers for bad working conditions and illegal wages of domestic workers.

Not even government officials and MPs have escaped his attacks in this regard.

Page Boikanyo, spokesman: Department of Labour, Pretoria

X