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Lutfo threatens to '˜shut down' Kang Fa

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SITEKI - Minister of Labour and Social Security, Lutfo Dlamini, has threatened to report Kang Fa Managing Director, Chang Iming, to the Taiwan Embassy for continual disregard of the country’s labour laws.

Kang Fa is the troubled local textile company that has encountered endless strikes over the past two years over alleged ill-treatment of workers.

The minister was speaking during a courtesy visit to the factory on Monday afternoon.

Speaking directly to Iming, Dlamini said he had been informed of the appalling working conditions at the factory.

He said the conditions were in violation of the country’s labour laws."What you are doing here (Kang Fa) is worse than slavery. You are running the factory using your own labour laws. I will report you to the Taiwan Embassy because you are misrepresenting Taiwanese investors in the country," said the minister in a harsh tone.

Before addressing the directors, Minister Dlamini was briefed by a workers’ representative about the working conditions at the factory.

"Sometimes we are informed at 3pm that salaries, which were due an hour later, would be paid at a later date.

"Also, when you go on leave you are either replaced or made to reapply when you return to work. As I speak, Honourable minister, we were paid today (Monday) our December salaries," said the workers’ representative.

The workers’ representative further informed the minister that workers have not received certificates from the Swaziland National Provident Fund (SNPF), despite the fact that the company deducted SNPF monthly contributions from their salaries.

Upon hearing some of the workers concerns, the minister said it was his duty to protect citizens in the employment sector.

"When this factory was constructed, we ‘lied’ to the King that Swazis would be employed thus reducing poverty, but what is happening here is not employment," added the minister.

The minister then gave the director an ultimatum to either improve working conditions or the ministry will be forced to revoke its operating licence.

"If you continue doing this, I will come back before Easters and revoke your permit and further take you to court. You will be the first Taiwanese investor to face such," said Dlamini.



- I want to commend the stand taken by Minister Lutfo in the Kang Fa Garment Factory saga. Wel done Minister, this is a move towards the right direction in salvaging the marginalzed, disadvantaged and impoverished sector of society. They are the country's important resource we all have an obligation to protect them. The economy of the country depend on them as well. Investors in our country have a wrong mentality that we are donkeys they will harnes even on Sunday. May the Minister continues unabated to crack down on those so called investors whose profit margin is solely depended on nothing else but cheating our brothers and sisters.
January 9, 2013, 9:30 am, Candie Mpanza

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