The Portfolio Committee on Labour today visited the North Rand Training Centre in the Randjesfontein Race Course in Midrand, Gauteng, to conduct oversight on the working and living conditions of workers in the horse racing industry.
During the visit, the committee interacted with management of Phumelela Gaming, one independent horse trainer, as well as horse grooms.
During an interaction with the horse grooms in their hostels, the committee heard about reports of long working hours, failure to comply with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) legislation, allegedly by horse trainers sub-contracted to Phumelela.
The committee also witnessed appalling living conditions in the grooms’ hostels, where four to five men share one small room and cook in gas stoves located outside their rooms.
The committee was also unimpressed by the absence of female horse grooms in the industry
Members of the committee were not impressed by the living conditions and the reported failure to comply with the UIF Act, and instructed the Department of Labour to conduct thorough inspections in the entire horse racing industry to ensure compliance with the laws of the country.
The committee also noted with concern the absence of healthcare services in the Randjesfontein estate.
The committee was also unimpressed by the absence of female horse grooms in the industry and advised the management of Phumelela to have a relook at the situation, and ensure gender inclusivity and women emancipation.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) the committee will conduct oversight at the Beatrix Mine in Welkom, Free State, where 955 mine workers were trapped underground for more than a day, early this year, following a power failure.
The committee will also meet with workers and management in the retail and wholesale sector in the Motheo District Municipality.