All 51 Migrant Workers Freed From Alberton Sweat Factory, Then Arrested

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Law enforcers this week swooped on a sweat factory in Alberton, Johannesburg, and rescued 51 immigrant workers who were held in slave-like conditions.

“Acting on information provided by a whistleblower, the Home Affairs Inspectorate visited this plastic factory in Alrode, Alberton on Monday night, 20th June 2022, but were refused entry by security,” Siya Qoza, Media Liaison Officer for the Minister of Home Affairs, said Thursday.

“As much as Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi is strongly against the breaking of immigration laws, in the same vein, he equally condemns the abuse and exploitation of any human being, in this case, the 51 illegal migrants from Malawi, Zimbabwe and China, who were forced to work, eat and sleep inside a plastic factory in Alberton, in Ekurhuleni.”

The workers were subjected to inhumane and unspeakable working and living conditions in a factory owned by a Chinese national.

“After being refused entry to the premises on Monday night, Home Affairs Inspectorate returned to the factory in a joint law enforcement operation that included the SA Police Service, the Department of Employment and Labour, Ekurhuleni Metro and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority,” Qoza said.

The home affairs operation led to the arrest of all the migrant workers for being in South Africa illegally.

“On Wednesday, the manager of the factory, a Chinese national, was also arrested,” said Qoza.

“She, together with the 51, appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Today, 23 June 2022, and they all have been charged in terms of section 49 of the Immigration Act.”

The owner of the factory is out of the country.

 Law enforcement officials are also investigating a possible case of human trafficking.

Minister Motsoaledi warned against subjecting human beings to such atrocious and barbaric acts.

He said those who employ illegal migrants will face the full might of the law.

“I would like to thank members of the public who continue to provide information that leads to arrests of these corrupt syndicates and unscrupulous employers who break our laws,” said Dr. Motsoaledi.

BOLTED: Inside the Alberton sweat factory were 51 migrants were freed and later arrested for breaching SA immigration laws