EFF leader Julius Malema has called on businesses to make sure at least 60% of their staff are South Africans.
Malema was at pains to explain that this was not a xenophobic call, but that it would stop employers from exploiting foreign nationals, whose rights, he said, were undermined when there were no South African workers in a company.
“When you mix South Africans with our African brothers and sisters, then they are guaranteed of their rights, their safety and better salaries because South Africans would never accept mediocre salaries from any employer.
“We therefore call on all employers inclusive of farms, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, the hospitality businesses and the entire private sector, to ensure that a minimum of 60% of their employees are South Africans,” he said.
Malema accused employers of abusing the migration status of foreigners by violating their basic labour and human rights.
He said while the EFF was committed to Pan-Africanism, it had realised that many companies and businesses in SA, particularly in the hospitality and the agricultural industry, employed Africans from other parts of the continent so that they could exploit them.
“All Africans are welcomed here and they must work here. It is not their fault that they are working. It is the fault of the white men who employ them and exclude us with an intention to divide us,” he said.
Malema claimed that after employing foreign nationals, white-owned businesses would then turn around and say “you are unemployed because of Zimbabweans”. This created tensions, he said. “What we are saying is, leave the employees alone. Let's go to the white man and ask the question: 'Why did you hire only Zimbabweans when we are here and unemployed. What type of employment strategy is this'?”
In April, finance minister Tito Mboweni said businesses hoping to open and thrive after the coronavirus lockdown should consider amending their labour market policies to favour unemployed South Africans.