ATC121129: Report of the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises on an Oversight Visit to the Sheltered Employment Factories in Pietermaritzburg and Jacobs, in KwaZulu-Natal, dated 27 November 2012.
Report of the Select Committee on Labour and
Public Enterprises on an Oversight Visit to the Sheltered Employment Factories in
Pietermaritzburg and Jacobs, in KwaZulu-Natal, dated 27 November 2012.
During the Committees strategic planning session held this year (2012), it
was decided that the Committee would ensure that it visited as many of the
Sheltered Employment Factories (
During January 2012, the Committee visited the SEF in
delegation of the Committee comprised Mrs MP
(Chairperson and Leader of the delegation), Mrs L
, Mr MP Jacobs, Mr HB Groenewald, Mr Z
, Mr O de Beer and Prince MMM Zulu.
3. Support Staff
, Committee Secretary; Mrs R
Committee Researcher and Mr G
Assistant, accompanied the delegation.
4. Sheltered Employment Factory at
The Committee undertook oversight visits
to the Sheltered Employment Factory (SEF) trading under the name Service
in Pietermaritzburg (
The factory was found to be very neat and a good place to work in. The Committee
learnt that the
The woodwork section had 49 employees of which 6 were newly appointed.
The factory experienced staff shortages which were due to the fact that if
and when old employees retire/resign, they were not replaced.
There are very few young employees, and most
employees were 40 years of age or older.
The factory found it very hard to transform due to the fact that
historically the factory was mainly for white people who did not leave the employ
of the factory other than if they died or retired. At the same time the factory
had no capacity to employ more disabled people unless positions became
All administrative work was centralised in
There were no operations taking place in the woodwork section. This was due
to the factory having no raw material for such operations. The factory had been
There was no transport to take the employees to and from work because most
of the factory staff was staying in the
The Committee felt that factory management and employees were doing a good
job, although there was not enough work for the factory. The factory employees
stressed that they were satisfied with the general conditions of their
employment but for a few minor problems that they experienced.
The factory manufactures furniture for schools, households and also makes office
furniture. The factory also sold furniture to the public. In marketing its
business, the factory staff volunteered to distribute flyers during their own
time. The factory also produced clothing and bedding material for government
hospitals in the province.
Employees gross salaries ranged from R3 360 to R4 000 per month. There
were complaints from the factory employees that they are paid too little for
the hard physical work that they do. Most of the employees have long service
which ranges from 16 to 30 years and which means that there are very few new or
young people employed at the factory.
the factory Manager, advised the delegation that the factory did not have
enough funding to employ more individuals even though there are hundreds of
applicants who apply when a post is advertised. She mentioned that it was sad
that the factory had the capacity to employ more people but that they needed
additional funding to do so.
Regarding safety and security, the factory employees were trained to always
use protective clothing and safety shoes. They were also trained with regard to
safety procedures when operating factory machines.
Employment Factory in Jacobs
The factory had a staff complement of 105, of which 80% are people with
mental disabilities. Twenty per cent are people with physical disabilities but all
of them could walk because of the kind of work done in the factory.
The Jacobs SEF hardly gets support from the government. The factory had
recently recruited young employees from special schools and through the
Department of Labour. The ages of the new recruits ranged from 18 to 22 years.
Marketing was done primarily through word of mouth. There are evaluation forms
for new recruits.
Every time an employee
leaves because of retirement or death, the factory recruits people of colour rather
than white people.
There is no accommodation for the employees because most of them live
within the radius of 20 to 25 kilometres from the factory.
The factory produces woodwork and textile products. Staff in the Jacobs SEF
was required to multitask. In other words, if there was no textile work, the
women would be required to work in the woodwork section.
Furniture in this factory is SABS approved
and the factory was capable and self-sufficient.
The factory was busy with a school furniture project for schools in the
The Committee recommends that
need a centralised transformation plan. The Department of Labour should assist
in ensuring transformation.
Government needed to
the procurement policies of government departments. Unless these
get government support, they will battle to
Government should reconsider the funding of these
as it is clear that funds were a serious challenge.
Young people with disabilities need to be recruited so
that they can benefit from the training and become skilled employees. This
would necessitate adequate funding.
a revision of the salary scales for factory employees or consider a subsidised
accommodation scheme as some employees were paying almost two thirds of their
salaries towards rent and transport fares.
The Committee also recommended that the factory needed
an aggressive marketing strategy to ensure younger people are recruited into
the system, which will in return transfer skills.
offering in-service training for young scholars in ensuring a skilled and
vibrant workforce for the future.
The factory needed to advertise their furniture to the
public more aggressively as they made South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
This would benefit
the factories and allow them to become more self-sufficient.
Report to be considered.
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