Home News Interdicted water workers back at posts

Interdicted water workers back at posts


This despite an interim interdict that was granted against them.

File image. Picture: Pixabay

EMPLOYEES of the Vaalharts Water Users Association in Jan Kempdorp said that they were back at their posts, despite an interim interdict that was granted against them, as well as unidentified persons, to prevent them from demonstrating or holding illegal gatherings outside the premises.

Workers, who were served with the court order, indicated that they were keeping 200 metres away from the Vaalharts Water Users Association premises in Van Riebeeck Avenue, in terms of the conditions laid out in the interdict.

Workers protested outside the gates two weeks ago and burnt tyres in front of the entrance, demanding to be addressed by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti.

They stated that the principle of no work, no pay was being implemented, although they had been promised by the minister on April 11 that no money would be deducted from their salaries.

Their demands include higher pay, permanent absorption into the department, equal benefits for all races, inclusivity in the water board, and adherence to procurement and supply chain management procedures.

According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, about 60 workers, comprising employees of the Vaalharts Water Users Association (VHWUA) and the construction unit of the Department of Water and Sanitation, had disrupted water delivery programmes through unlawful protest action at the beginning of the month.

The spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, said that protesters barricaded and damaged the access gate to the premises and obstructed entry to the premises during the three-day protest.

Protesting workers presented a list of demands to the Minister of Water and Sanitation during a meeting held on April 11 in Jan Kempdorp.

The workers claimed that a manager had made several racial statements about employees and that the top management of VHWUA had failed to act.

The aggrieved workers also claimed that the CEO of VHWUA had benefited from a R100 000 bursary; and when they requested information regarding the matter they were threatened with disciplinary action.

The worker representatives believed that VHWUA should be disbanded, as board meetings were apparently not taking place on a regular basis.

Community members are furthermore calling for the CEO of VHWUA to be dismissed.

VHWUA employees want to be integrated into the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The workers are calling for a forensic audit of the VHWUA to be conducted in order to investigate several financial irregularities within the organisation.

The protesters are unhappy that there are no human resources officials on site, grievances are not responded to and disciplinary processes took a long time to be finalised.

They also stated that the toilet was locked to prevent “black officials” from entering; that they were not issued with protective clothing; and that there was a lack of skills development, apprentice training and transformation.

Project-based workers employed on contract since 2014, with no end date, lodged a grievance after discovering that other project-based employees from other areas were transferred to Construction West in Jan Kempdorp and their contracts converted to a standard contract.

They added that equipment and staff were being transferred out of Construction West, Jan Kempdorp, which was perceived as an effort to close down the workshop.

“Employees with at least five years’ service had no termination benefits.”

Construction West protesters added that the infrastructure was not safe for workers, where their health and safety was being compromised. They are also demanding state housing benefits.

Meanwhile, the Northern Cape High Court has interdicted and restrained Eskom from interrupting the bulk power supply to Phokwane Municipality, pending an application from the Vaalharts Ratepayers Association that was postponed until June 14.