Former EPWP workers demand jobs back

Expanded public works programme (EPWP) workers, whose contracts were terminated last year, vowed to continue their protest until they are reinstated.

The former workers shut down the satellite metro office in Temba, Hammanskraal on Wednesday to protest the “unfair termination” of their contracts and demanded reinstatement.

Leader Kotiti Aphane alleged the termination of their contracts was political.

“Only those with DA membership have been absorbed into the new EPWP,” said Aphane.

The police kept a watchful eye on the protesters Wednesday morning, a move Aphane called intimidation.

“We will continue to protest until the mayor comes here and takes our grievances into consideration,” said Aphane.

He said the metro gave 6 000 EPWP workers letters of termination to “make way for the new intake”.

ALSO READ: Tshwane metro aims to root out corruption within EPWP

“The municipality called the police to intimidate the workers. Their plan was for the police to remove the workers forcefully and make it look like the workers were trespassing. None of the members were rowdy or violent, yet the police were called to restore so-called order,” he said.

MMC for corporate services Cilliers Brink said he had “noted with concern disruptions by a disgruntled group” of the EPWP in regions 1 and 3.

He said the DA-led government had promised transparency in all city projects and would not be deterred by politically-motivated disruptions to sabotage service delivery to the citizens.

“In region 1, a waste management supervisor was assaulted by former workers in Winterveldt. The group also threatened the current workers with violence if they continue to report for duty,” he said.

Brink said the city wished to assure the current workers that all possible precautions would be taken to ensure their safety.

“The reformed EPWP recruitment policy was passed by council on 28 September as a principle of ‘good governance’ that was adopted by the DA-led multiparty administration as one of its strategic priorities.

The amendments to the policy included that residents seeking employment in the EPWP had to register and vacancies would be filled in an “open and audited lottery-like” process.

ALSO READ: Residents allege corruption in EPWP jobs

He said the city had embarked on a fair and transparent recruitment drive which saw over 120 000 jobseekers register.

He said previous workers had been advised to register and would be eligible for job opportunities.

“The city will continue with the random selection of EPWP workers which is open to public observation and such selection process will also be published in advance in the wards and regions from which the EPWP workers will be recruited,” Brink said.

He said the DA-led administration remained committed to democracy, accountability and transparency in the execution and implementation of government programmes.

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  AUTHOR
David Matsena

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