Fin24

Chinese knock for local jobs

2012-09-02 14:42


Pretoria – Chinese workers are increasingly taking jobs away from unemployed South Africans – with the government’s blessing, a Sake24 study shows.

Sake24 recently visited the Rayal ceramics factory being built in Ekandustria outside Bronkhorstspruit.

Between 30 and 40 Chinese supervisors are employed in the construction stage, says Rayal spokesperson John Zhu. South Africans are merely being hired as day-wage workers for construction purposes.

When the factory becomes operational, up to 140 Chinese and about 300 South Africans will be employed, says Zhu. Accommodation for the Chinese workers is under construction.

But an industry expert who visited the factory says this 42 000m² plant will require hardly more than the 140 workers, suggesting that it will be operated predominantly by Chinese.

Similar ceramics factories have previously been built in South Africa and operated by local workers. According to the industry leader no special skill unavailable locally is required.

All the construction material for the factory has also been imported from China. “Everything you see here, other than the cement and sand on the floor, comes from China,” says Zhu.

Kobus de Beer of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) says around 1 200 tonnes of structural steel would be used.

To manufacture this, a medium-sized company could provide 210 employees with three months’ work, and work for another 150 for three months during construction.

If one includes the support industries, such as the transport of products, the manufacturing of the steel could provide a total 930 South Africans with three months of work.

Similar calculations can be done for the other construction materials not purchased locally.

De Beer says such projects are exempt from a 15% import duty and in this instance government has been deprived of R3.6m on the structural steel alone.

Furthermore it appears that the Chinese workers are paid in China and the communities in which such projects are being erected do therefore not derive any benefit from the customary ripple effects of a wage bill.

The Rayal factory strongly reminds one of the Sephaku cement factory that the state-controlled Chinese group Sinoma is building outside Lichtenburg, also with government approval.

Sake24 previously reported that only a quarter of the workforce there, which will reach as many as 1 500, will be South Africans. Practically all the construction material is imported and Sinoma has even imported its own cranes and construction equipment to get the job done.

De Beer says that in 2008 and later in 2010 the SAISC tried to prevent the way in which the Sephaku project was taking shape, but without success.

In both cases the Department of Trade & Industry apparently played a big role in attracting the foreign investment.

Zhu says the department had canvassed the Rayal investment at a trade show in China. “We first wanted to put up a textile factory, but the department said that the local textile industry was protected and we should rather consider construction materials.”

The departments of Labour and Home Affairs also have to give approval, but apparently follow the recommendations of the Department of Trade & Industry.

There is clearly little consultation with the organised labour sector and local industrial organisations, and no-one knows how many similar projects have already been approved and are under way.

Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann says the union is concerned about a lack of compliance with labour legislation on these projects and they are striving for regular inspections.

“Every foreigner who takes a job away from a South African takes the food out of the mouths of eight South Africans,” he says.

“By right the government should act firmly against such practices. We are worried that foreigners are entering the country by means of a system that should actually protect South Africans.”

The Department of Trade & Industry has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
- Sake24

For business news in Afrikaans, go to Sake24.com.

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Comments
  • njdejager - 2012-09-02 15:01

    Sad but this is how government wants it. At least the chinese workers does not strike and break things down half the time. They "build"

      wwrer.ww - 2012-09-03 14:00

      The Chinese bring in investment too. China is becoming very advanced and are producing better products every year. The entire Southern Africa will receive investment and be developed and people in those countries will then also buy products from South Africa in turn. Our people will benefit with jobs as the entire region develops together. Our businesses will get sales orders from fast developing Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia. They are very rich in natural resources.

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-09-02 15:11

    This is no surprise!!!

  • patrick.mettle.7 - 2012-09-02 15:14

    Boycott China towns. They are popping up all over SA with cheap crap yet look at the amount of SAs they employ. Token staff. Our shower head president recenty spoke at a BRIC convention in brazil about creating \good\ jobs for SA citizens and then allows this obvious two finger salute to the country. The sooner we get rid of this self enriching mampara, the beter.

      Blixum - 2012-09-03 08:40

      AND they don't pay any taxes...

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-02 15:20

    Of course the ANC will give this their blessing. The cadres can make billions. Economic freedom not in our lifetime!

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-09-02 15:52

    Chinese slowly taking over, just putting down roots, this wouldn't happen in Botswana. We don't do anything to protect our peoples jobs which ate bring lost all the time to illegal immigrants who send the money they make or steal here back home to their family.

      Blixum - 2012-09-03 08:42

      They've got clever people running Bots. That's why Jules hate their guts. Also, only one tribe. In Africa this is a big plus.

  • tin.can.501598 - 2012-09-02 15:58

    This has been apparent all over Africa.In most cases the Chinese builder labour are in fact prisoners who get credit to their sentences after performing overseas service.In this way the contractors are able to out price local construction companies in commercial projects.These local construction companies are forced to comply with all aspects of labour law in terms of working hours ,minimum wages along with health and safety however their Chinese counterparts are never questioned.

  • kevin.jacobs.1044 - 2012-09-02 16:02

    no comment from the ANC voters?

      jacques.otto.50 - 2012-09-02 18:05

      Kevin this is fin 24. ANC members dont read this part of the news.

  • teddy.beer.319 - 2012-09-02 16:18

    The Chinese never build countries, they build their own! If they open a tuckshop, even the matches will come from China. If they start an electronics shop, all the gadgets sold will come from China, building their own factories and destroying yours. If they sell anything local, it will be pirated. Their involvement locally is merely to create markets for their factories. When they manage to smother yours, they then raise their prices. Those who believe that Chinese workers here boost local economies are wrong. They eat imported Chinese food from Chinese Restaurants! The Somalis etc running tuckshops in the townships are better. They buy their supplies from local wholesalers, and avails the products right into the depth of society. Chinese companies never have a Social Responsibility plan, just plain grab-and-go.

  • thabo.shabalala.94 - 2012-09-02 16:22

    Hoe se hulle in Afrikaans die "koeel is deur die Kerk" The government don't realize that the Chinese is already in full swing with the Second colonization of Africa. Wake up

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-02 16:25

    All over Africa, businesses are waking up against this Chinese onslaught. The week before last , there were large demonstrations in Nairobi, against Chinese business people. AS one trader said; It is bad enough, China exporting there cheap stuff to Kenya. But this is not enough for them; Thousands of Chinese come in on tourists visas, and than stay !! Than it are the Chinese that do the Wholesale, Retail and even Hawking of their stuff! The biggest threat to Jobs, and ultimately stability in Africa, are the CHINESE !!!

  • willem.wulfse - 2012-09-02 16:26

    The Walmart debacle comes to mind. They had to battle to get into the country, even though they are providing jobs and support local suppliers. The Chinese simply dictate their own terms and get away with it. Everything including, in this case, the building material and labour comes from China. I wonder who got what for this to have been allowed.

  • Zahir - 2012-09-02 16:34

    the start of china taking over the ANC have given the go ahead and they will take there cut

      ljmostert - 2012-09-02 17:38

      Chinese imports and Cosatu killed our clothing industry! Why are these people given work permits and business licences to operate here - they are a growing cancer! I don't buy Chinese but its getting harder!!

  • harald.voney - 2012-09-02 18:35

    The Chinesse are colonising Africa at a startling rate, and the locals have no idea of the pending reallity of this. The chinese are going to be the new bosses... the African were so against colonisation, but they quite happy to sell everything to the chinesse...

  • leon.scheepers.58 - 2012-09-02 18:45

    According to labour stats last year, a Chinese worker will be 5 times more productive at a third of the salary of a SA labourer - no wonder the Chinese would rather have their own labour, otherwise it just does not pay.

      LordJerry007 - 2012-09-02 19:10

      I think you dont understand the concept of productivity... Productivity is what do u produce over or below what is expected... So r u saying Chiness are doing 5 times more than what is expected..

      rupesh.hari.7 - 2012-09-02 21:21

      no, he may be saying that SA labourer is 1/5th as productive as what is expected. :)

  • mpho.galane1 - 2012-09-02 18:50

    This is what China did in the Bophuta-tswana. Everything come from china,we dont benefit a thing from them. They r colonising Africa again n ANC is helping them

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-09-02 18:52

    Yet again the black people are robbed by their own "leaders", but still they will vote ANC. Sick, sick, stupid.

  • David.J.Swart - 2012-09-02 20:49

    Guess the Chinese invasion is starting. Maybe they want Chinese workers because more productive than our workers. Now why am I not suprised?

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-09-02 21:16

    Chinese outnumber us more than 20 to 1. They have so much money, they have a real army, the USA owes them a fortune. And they're here. If you are not scared then its cause you don't understand. They have enough money to just buy this country and the ANC will be happy to sell it to them.

  • The-Azanian - 2012-09-02 21:20

    Ha ha ha. Stupid article. When skilled whites are imported from Europe its hunky dory, but when skilled africans/asians are imported we cry foul. Dumb dumb dumb. When will African countries cut their embelical cords from Europe and focus on doing business with each other, latin america and asia. Atleast these guys are just capitalists not aiming to make us slaves to drive up their economics.

      justin.pretorius - 2012-09-03 08:40

      "..not aiming to make us slaves". Are you so sure?

  • tommo.too - 2012-09-03 00:43

    Don't say we didn't warn you Africa....

  • Blixum - 2012-09-03 08:38

    Yep! Die chinese is besig om vir die outas 'n pampoen te rol. Geniet dit ouens. Julle het vir hierdie regering gestem.

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-09-03 12:43

    Has it now been said that the East will take over the west so they are also keeping their options open south and north. Wonder how many zuma's on their payroll now thats scarey

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