The Employment and Labour Department’s national minimum wage hotline has been shut down after receiving a flood of calls which has exhausted its funding.
THE EMPLOYMENT and Labour Department’s national minimum wage hotline has received over 170,000 complaints during the six months since it’s been introduced.
This was revealed by Employment and Labour Department Minister Thulas Nxesi when he was responding to parliamentary questions from IFP MP Xolani Ngwezi, who asked whether complaints were made through the Impimpa hotline.
Ngwezi also enquired whether the department has published the findings from the complaints on its website, and details of the expenditure on the R20 million earmarked to raise awareness on the hotline.
In his written response, Nxesi said: “Since the launch of the national minimum wage Impimpa hotline in March, employees have been making use of this service. As to date, about 178,000 cases were recorded on the dashboard, but it has unfortunately been temporarily put on hold as the department has received more numbers than anticipated which has put the department under pressure with regards to funding.’’
The minister said a dashboard was built to extract data from the system to be published on the department’s website on a weekly basis.
“The data was subsequently published on the website, but that was unfortunately halted as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.”
Nxesi said the department had engaged Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS) to arrange for the marketing and advertising of the hotline.
The department used a mix of media platforms it paid over R21 million to market the hotline.
“The department used six media platforms – print, radio, taxi rank advertising, train station advertising, television and social media – amounting to R21,620,000 to cover the cost of marketing and advertising of the national minimum wage Impimpa hotline,’’ he said.
Nxesi said they had a seven-day turnaround time to resolve complaints.
’’Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, inspectors had to undertake administrative inspections, (working from home), which made adherence to this time-limit difficult.’’
In March, the department partnered with cellular phone provider Vodacom on the hotline, which is aimed at employers not complying with the national minimum wage.
The hotline allows workers to report cases of non-compliance without any cost to them.