The Harvest Krotoa December in the dry docks in the Cape Town harbor when the trawler was overhauled. Photo: Sea Harvest
Sea Harvest has been forced to shut doors in its Saldanha
Bay operations for allegedly not complying with Covid-19 regulations while 80
of its staff members have tested positive for Covid-19, the Department of
Employment and Labour in the Western Cape said on Saturday.
The department served the fishing company with notices on
Wednesday, instructing to stop all work in areas covered by the notices which
include the company’s production line and entry points. Sub-contractors who
were working on-site in Saldanha Bay also won’t be able to carry on with any
“Prohibition notices essentially means that no work may
take place at any of the areas where notices were served,” said the department
in a statement.
Sea Harvest is one of the biggest employers in the West
Coast region, with over 1 400 workers directly depending on the company for
their livelihoods. The department said the major concerns were that Sea Harvest
“is confronted with over 80 employees who have been infected with the Covid-19
virus” and had no social distancing practices in the workplace.
David Esau, Western Cape Provincial Chief Inspector said the
intention is not to permanently close business, but to get the company to
adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. As such, the Occupational Health and Safety
(OHS) inspector will do a follow-up visit to Sea Harvest once the company has
confirmed that all minimum standards have been put in place to ensure the
safety of both employees and sub-contractors. The department said in that
process, ff the inspector is satisfied with the efforts of the employer, the
prohibition notice will then be lifted.
Sea Harvest is yet to provide a response. The story will be updated when the company provides one.