Victims of forced labour freed from mask-making factory in South Africa


South African authorities in the city of Durban have freed 14 workers who have been “locked up in a [mask-making] factory since Monday” while also arresting the owner of the business, a local government minister said.

The workers “were forced to manufacture hundreds of masks to meet the demand caused by the outbreak of coronavirus”, KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism and environmental affairs minister Nomusa Dube-Ncube said in a statement.

They were “subjected to inhuman conditions”, she added.

Ms. Dube-Ncube said that officials were acting on a tip off from the public after its inspectors found that masks were selling in the shops for US$44(£35) each.

South Africa is currently in the third day of a 21-day lockdown as it attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases in South Africa, higher than any other country on the continent.

Two people have already died after contracting Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. (Source: BBC)