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Be wary of unscrupulous recruiters

1610234726People seeking employment shouldn’t be charged a fee by agencies

JOB-SEEKERS have been warned to stay away from recruitment agencies that demand registration fees or payment with promises of getting them jobs, because what they are doing is illegal.

This comes after two desperate job-seekers were left crushed, allegedly by staff at the Lorraine Hospitality and Recruitment Centre, an agency which operates at Ottawa Mall in downtown Joburg.

The job-seekers were told to report to the recruitment agency the following day, when they would be taken to their workplace to report for duty as their applications had been successful.

However, upon arrival, they were allegedly told to pay R600 registration fees first.

When they said they didn’t have the money, they were allegedly rudely told to leave and to return only when they had the money.

They had to return home, humiliated with the excitement of getting a job dashed.

“I asked them to place me and said I would pay them after my first salary, but they refused. It was at that point I realised it was a scam,” said Omphemetse Mphehlo.

An unemployed Mphehlo saw an advert for a chef on Gumtree and immediately sent an SMS to a number on the advert. Just like Nonhlanhla Zwane, who had applied for a call centre job, they were invited for an interview the following day.

While Zwane

lives

in Soweto, Mphehlo had to find the money to travel from his home in Mahikeng, North West, to Joburg. There, they were “interviewed” and later told they had got the jobs.

Mphehlo, who has a certificate in professional cookery and food preparation, was told that he would start as a chef at the Gallagher Convention Centre the following day.

Excited, the 37-year-old packed his bag and bid his family and neighbours goodbye and made his way to Joburg to begin a new life.
“I even packed my recipe books so that I could show my new employers what I am capable of,” he said.

However, when he arrived at the office that day, everything had changed.

He said be begged them to give him until month-end to pay, as he didn’t have money, but they wouldn’t hear of it.

“I was so disappointed and didn’t know how I was going to break the news to my family. It’s like I am a fool,” he said, close to tears.

Zwane also left disappointed after failing to pay the R600. While there, the pair met Freddy Zulu, Thapelo Mofokeng and Tebello Mokoena, who were also there for “interviews”. They also stopped a desperate Nosipho Masumpa, who was about to pay the R600 to secure a domestic worker position. The Star spoke to the agency’s Vanessa Siki, who confirmed that they charge a registration fee and that if someone does not have it, the agency can deduct it from their first salary. Siki also said she had connections at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Emperors Palace and the Sandton Convention Centre.

“That’s where I send my people. They will test you, and if you pass you’re in,” she said.

The Star checked with Val Wilson at the Gallagher Convention Centre, who confirmed that they didn’t have a chef ’s position at the moment, and even if there were one, they wouldn’t use a recruitment agency from Joburg but rather make use of the services of an “international guy” for that.

Wilson said the recruitment agency was a scam because recruiters can’t ask for money from a job-seeker.

Roly Boardman of the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (Apso) said making job-seekers pay for jobs was illegal.

Boardman, who is chairman of ethics at Apso, said that in the past, a recruitment agency used to get a percentage from a job-seeker’s first salary after helping them secure a job,

But the Employment Services Act had done away with that practice because recruitment agencies get paid by the companies that contract them to help them find the best candidate for a particular position, he said.

“A legitimate recruitment agency would never ask you for money. If they do, they are doing something illegal and should be reported to the police and the Department of Labour.”

Boardman also warned people to be wary of international recruiters.

By Botho Molosankwe – botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za
The Star 22/09/15 Early Edition