The Western Cape High Court has chided financial services company Mukuru for hiring foreigners in positions South Africans can occupy.
Mukuru Group’s subsidiaries, Mukuru Financial Services (MFS) and Mukuru Africa (MA) had applied for a corporate visa to allow it to employ foreigners, but South Africa’s Department of Labour rejected the applications.
MFS wanted permission to hire 100 sales and support consultants, 10 controllers, and five call centre team leaders.
MA applied for 10 customer service representatives, five agents supervisors, seven corridor champions, 10 number and verification officers, 10 regional sales supervisors, 20 verification officers, 23 information officers, and 10 area sales supervisors.
Mukuru argued that it needed suitably qualified employees fluent in the indigenous languages of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and other “relevant” languages.
However, the Department of Labour rejected the applications for the certificate.
It said the skills sought by Mukuru were available in South Africa and that the foreign language requirement was discriminatory to local citizens.
Mukuru then turned to the courts for recourse in a bid to have the department’s decision set aside but Judge Daniel Thulare dismissed the company’s application: He ruled:
The applicants unfairly exclude South African citizens from employment opportunities in South Africa in favour of foreign nationals.
In my view, this constituted unfair discrimination on grounds that included a race, ethnic or social origin, culture, language, and birth.
This unfair discrimination resulted in the applicants being found wanting in respect of private sector development as a strategy of the developmental and transformative state.
They failed to promote economic growth, which includes contributions by foreign nationals but also helps reduce poverty through deliberate actions to defeat the financial exclusion of the poor South African citizens.
MFS had 137 124 workers, of whom 124 were foreigners while MA had a staff complement of 546, of whom 101 were foreigners.