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NUM in NC slams Eskom over evictions

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NUM in the Northern Cape has slammed what it has called the inhuman behaviour displayed by Eskom following the eviction of employees from company houses.

File image. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

THE NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Northern Cape has slammed what it has called the inhuman behaviour displayed by Eskom following the eviction of employees from company houses.

Cornelius Manhe, NUM Kimberley regional secretary, explained that in 2009 NUM members were transferred to Kathu following complaints from the mines regarding travelling turnaround time, as employees were travelling from Postmasburg.

“Previously, the Kathu Customer Network Centre (CNC) was a satellite station, but was officially opened and converted to CNC in 2009.”

Manhe said the power utility developed a housing practice note in 2013 after an investigation from Eskom found that there were employees who were in need of housing in Kathu.

“Eskom held consultations with the mines and the local municipality to see if there were houses available that could be used for its employees.”

Manhe explained that Eskom apparently bought houses in Bestwood Estate (now Lattakoo) as well as rented a privately-owned house and subsidised the employees as per the housing practice note.

“At a later stage, Eskom failed to honour the lease agreement and the owners of the privately-owned houses terminated their contracts.

“After eviction, Eskom employees in Kathu were provided with housing assistance for a period of time but that was also stopped.”

Manhe said the inconsistency arose as some employees were benefiting and others were not.

He said that a similar situation occurred in Kuruman.

“Last month employees at Kathu applied to be relocated because Eskom didn’t want to help them with housing but the applications were rejected. One employee lodged a grievance because his transfer request was rejected, but even now it has fallen on the deaf ears by Eskom.”

Eskom spokesperson Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg said in response that the power utility noticed the statement by NUM.

“We confirm that we have well-established processes and participative structures within Eskom meant to address relations between employees and management. NUM is party to these participative structures and we request that the processes are observed and respected,” siad Jansen van Rensburg.