Retrenched eThekwini workers shot at with rubber bullets while marching to ANC offices

The workers’ contracts under the public employment programme were terminated in October when the City ran out of funds

| By

Public employment programme (PEP) workers demanded to speak to eThekwini municipality officials at the Lion Match offices near Moses Mabhida stadium on Wednesday. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

About 100 public employment programme (PEP) workers dressed in blue overalls doorstopped eThekwini municipality officials at the Lion Match offices near Moses Mabhida stadium on Wednesday.

They demanded answers after they claimed that the municipality did not respond to a memorandum at the end of November about their unpaid wages and the sudden termination of their contracts, among other issues.

The workers held several protests last year. Each time officials would promise to respond to their memorandums, but they say that those were empty promises.

The retrenched workers were employed on a temporary basis to help with waste collection and other service delivery items. They are hoping the City will reinstate their employment.

In early October, eThekwini municipality announced that it had run out of funds for the public employment programme which was part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus package launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2020.

The workers were told that the officials who could give them answers were still on leave, so they decided to walk about three kilometers to the ANC provincial offices. While they were walking along the pavement, metro police officers came to disperse them. Protesters claim that three of them sustained minor injuries after being shot with rubber bullets.

By the time the rest of the group arrived at the ANC offices, they were told that the leadership were still attending the party’s 112th celebrations.

Gweba Buhle, who was shot at with rubber bullets, told GroundUp that he will open a case against the officers who shot at him “without any warning”.

Metro Police spokesperson Boysie Zungu confirmed that rubber bullets were used to disperse the group, but he insisted that there were no injuries reported.

The KwaZulu-Natal labour department spokesperson, Nhlanhla Khumalo, said that the workers’ complaints have been referred to Inspection and Enforcement Services for investigation. “The Provincial Chief Inspector will dispatch officials and an inspection team. Once a preliminary report is available, it shall be shared,” said Khumalo.

TOPICS:  Unemployment

Next:  City of Cape Town rental flats in poor condition

Previous:  Joburg building fire survivors demand better housing after their settlement floods

© 2024 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.