Several workers said that they have not been paid by the subcontractors since June while others were still waiting for last month’s salary
THE POLICE had their hands full in protecting a cellular network tower close to the Sol Plaatje Municipality’s sub-station in Rhodesdene after disgruntled contract workers threatened to destroy the main network cable due to non-payment.
Workers on Tuesday also barricaded the Schmidtsdrift Road intersection in front of Riviera Spar with rocks and dug up part of the road.
Several workers said that they have not been paid by the subcontractors since June while others were still waiting for last month’s salary.
Residents in Rhodesdene fear that they might be left without power if the sub-station is torched.
Two people were injured during an altercation between the workers and a Rhodesdene resident who tried to stop the workers from setting the sub-station alight.
One is an elderly man who was allegedly attacked by the workers who thought he was calling the police while they were busy starting the fire.
The man, who is reported to be partially blind and has a heart condition, had to seek medical attention while one of the workers was attended to by his colleagues.
A second altercation apparently ensued later on Tuesday after the main contractors arrived in Kimberley to address the workers.
The tyres of one vehicle were slashed and one person was taken away by the police.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said no arrests were made as no case was opened.
M Telecoms, which owns the infrastructure, appointed several subcontractors to do the work.
The subcontractors stated that they have been waiting for payment from the main contractor.
M Telecoms, in turn, accused the subcontractors of not paying the workers after receiving payment.
The owner of M Telecoms, Muzi Gamede, confirmed that he engaged with the workers and the subcontractors.
According to Gamede, the subcontractors were not paying the workers after getting their payment.
He said that they have been paying the companies who, in turn, were not paying the workers.
He indicated that the project is expected to be completed within the next two weeks as the bulk of the work has been completed.