NUMSA demands that the Department of Labour must send inspectors to SA Steel Mills because it is allegedly exploiting undocumented foreign workers.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) condemns the management of SA Steel Mills for allegedly exploiting undocumented foreign nationals by using them as scab labour, to undermine the strike. Workers at SA Steel Mills have been on a protected strike since the 22nd of May. (The strike initially started on the 16th of April but was temporarily interdicted on the 19th of April. It resumed again on the 22nd of May after NUMSA won the right to strike at the Labour Court).

Our members have informed us that SA Steel Mills has hired undocumented foreign nationals and they are made to eat and sleep at the workplace. It is alleged that makeshift accommodation has been arranged so they never leave the company. If this is true, then the management of SA Steel Mills is violating labour laws, once again. SA Steel Mills has violated several aspects of basic labour law legislation in the following ways:

  1. They have ignored a court order that declared the strike of the 16th of April a lawful and protected strike.

  2. They have ignored a court order specifically barring them from disciplining, and then dismissing workers who participated in the strike of the 16th of April, because it was a lawful and protected strike. SA Steel Mills has since dismissed 162 workers who participated in that strike.

  3. They have a terrible reputation for flouting basic health and safety laws and the result is that many workers have lost fingers, and even their lives because SA Steel Mills does not take health and safety seriously.

  4. They have deliberately misled the media and members of the SAPS, by blatantly lying and claiming that the strike was interdicted, when it was not. This resulted in two NUMSA members being wrongfully arrested. Fortunately the union was able to bail them out the next day.

  5. Three private security guards who shot at NUMSA members who were peacefully picketing at the gates of the company, have been arrested and charged with attempted murder. SA Steel Mills continuously makes false claims that NUMSA members are violent, and yet it has not provided a shred of evidence to prove this. Meanwhile, NUMSA has a track record of evidence with the police and with the courts proving that SA Steel Mills is brutal towards workers.

NUMSA has informed the Department of Employment and Labour to urgently send inspectors to SA Steel Mills in order to check if it is violating immigration laws. NUMSA has always defended the rights of foreign nationals because we know how they can be exploited by employers.

In the case of SA Steel Mills these workers lives are in danger because SA Steel Mills is notorious for violating health and safety laws. And it is likely that they are also being grossly underpaid, because SA Steel Mills has a reputation for that as well. We do not condone or support the rule of law being undermined and this is why we demand that DoEL must act on this issue.

We are told that SA Steel Mills exploits workers at Veer Steel Mills which is another steel company based in Alberton, which is connected to it as well.

Meanwhile the strike continues until all demands have been met.

For more information on the Strike at SA Steel Mills watch #WorkersPower on YouTube, link below.

Issued by Kabelo Ramokhathali

NUMSA Regional Secretary Sedibeng


For more information, please contact:

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola

NUMSA National Spokesperson


NUMSA Head Office number: 0116891700

NUMSA YouTube Channel:

NUMSA Facebook page:

NUMSA Twitter account: @Numsa_Media

NUMSA Website: