Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality general workers from Whittlesea whose contracts have expired have raised concerns over the issue of absorption of contract workers into the municipality.
The Rep spoke to two workers who preferred not to be identified, who claimed that the municipality was stalling the process of renewing their contracts, adding that this contradicted a memorandum issued by the municipal human resources manager to the then acting municipal manager, Siyabonga Nkonki. The memorandum, dated June 17, 2017, stated that “a decision was taken by former Lukhanji Municipality and Samwu to absorb contract workers whose names are contained in a list drafted by both parties in Whittlesea..” The document further reads that “the decision has not been changed and a rumour that a new list exists has not been confirmed to the writer hereof. The list was signed by the employer and Samwu.”
The workers who spoke to The Rep indicated that their names were on the mentioned list but other people whose names were not on the list had since occupied some of the general worker positions.
“We have been going back and forth trying to get answers because we are without jobs. The manager who we report to in Whittlesea has directed us to the office of the municipal manager. They are giving us empty promises and they keep telling us to come back on different days. We have to use our own money to travel, money that we don’t have.”
One of the workers who had been working for the municipality since 2011 said they had previously been called in for interviews but that proved fruitless. “The interviews we had been called in for never even took place. Instead we were told about protests and the rescheduling of interview dates. Last year around September we signed new contracts for three months. The then municipal manager gave us a letter to produce to our manager in Whittlesea. The contracts ended and we are being told that our contracts cannot be renewed. This is frustrating for us because we have children to take to school. We have families to feed. Our councillors are aware of what is taking place, but they are not bothered.”
Manager in the office of the mayor, Butsha Lali, said the municipality had concluded an investigation into the issues of contract workers in the municipality. “A report that talks to the matter holistically has been concluded. The next step now is to table it before the Local Labour Forum for further engagements towards finalisation. We will have an official statement on the matter when the report is tabled before council. It should not go beyond the end of May 2019 for the processes to be concluded.”