Mokgadi Pela, spokesperson for the labour department, said Lamati had assembled a team, including “highly specialised inspectors”, to investigate the matter.
Lamati wanted to deal with the issue as “expeditiously as possible”, Pela said.
The labour department would release a preliminary announcement once enough work had been done, he said.
“The team is going through all the documents to see if any laws were flouted and to ensure that all agreements have been abided by, to the letter,” he added.
PPC spokesperson Siobhan McCarthy confirmed that officials from the departments of home affairs and labour visited the Slurry site on Monday and Tuesday.
“On Monday, the departments conducted an inspection of the project, including the personnel on site and the basic conditions of employment.
“The department of home affairs conducted an audit of the passports of all the Chinese nationals employed by [Chinese company] CBMI Construction on the project and confirmed the validity of all the work visas,” she added.
Pela said labour officials would be returning to the Slurry site to conduct further inspections.
Tebatso Mokoena, NUM’s national construction coordinator, said he met with PPC’s communications department on Monday to understand how the Chinese nationals ended up at the Slurry site and what special skills they had to offer.
“On Tuesday, PPC, together with CBMI, held a very fruitful and positive meeting with ... home affairs and labour, and regional representatives of NUM,” McCarthy said.
Mokoena confirmed that NUM’s regional shop stewards had attended the meeting.
A key concern for NUM was the employment of the Chinese nationals and what contribution PPC would make to the community in terms of its social and labour plan.
Mokoena said that he had heard from PPC that between 30 and 40 people from the area would be trained in maintaining the SK9 kiln once it was completed.
McCarthy said that, in addition, between 10 and 15 employees would travel to China in May to receive training on operating the plant. This would include learning about process design, mechanical engineering and instrumentation.
“Thereafter, they will spend time on two cement plants to get practical training on the manufacturing process and quality control.”
Further training would take place on site at Slurry, McCarthy said.
Mokoena said NUM was largely satisfied with the information provided by PPC, but that the union would be monitoring the following:
That the training of the local people happened;
That PPC provided benefits to the community through its social and labour plan; and
The type of local employment the SK9 project generated – amid very high unemployment in the area.
“While both departments are yet to provide their final reports on the site visit, the delegation indicated that all their questions relating to the project, as well as processes followed and adherence to regulations, had been addressed satisfactorily,” McCarthy said.
Pela said it was too early to make a determination and that PPC could not speak on behalf of the labour department.
McCarthy said the delegations were provided with the following supporting documentation:
The project’s resource plan, as well as the processes followed to identify resource requirements and to source skills from the local and broader communities;
CBMI’s skills transfer programme onshore and offshore; and
The process followed by CBMI to apply for and secure valid intracompany work visas for all Chinese foreign nationals assigned to the SK9 project.