A Chinese company operating in KwaZulu-Natal has accused police of starving its CEO, Ming Lai He, while he was in custody.
“He was not given food like others and was left to starve. Chen Lu CC also wants to condemn the Greenwood Park Police Station for unfair and inhumane treatment our CEO received upon his arrest,” a statement from the fragrance manufacturing company said.
The CEO was arrested last week in connection with contravening the Disaster Management Act. He also faces charges of forced labour in contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, failure to maintain a safe working environment and failure to lock down a non-essential business in contravention of the Disaster Management Regulations.
He is out on R20,000 bail.
The company has urged relevant departments to investigate its claims.
“It is common cognition that until proven guilty, all men are to be treated as innocent, this was not the case with the CEO’s arrest,” read the statement.
He allegedly locked up 14 employees for several days and forced them to produce masks in response to the demand created by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The company, however, says employees willingly agreed and signed written employment contracts to stay on its premises and work through the lockdown.
“We did not lock our employees up, kidnap them, or force them to work for free.”
The statement said that the workers’ union had begun its own investigating into the matter.
“We trust justice will be served, and we call for the community, government, and relevant departments to assist us to find the truth.”
The police did not immediately respond to queries.