‘We have worked since January — so pay us now!’

By Buziwe Nocuze

About 20 workers employed on an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in Khayelitsha, Cape Town have taken to the streets to protest non-payment of wages. They started working at the beginning of the year but have yet to be paid.

Over the weekend, the workers employed by Mbolompo Construction, who are responsible for cleaning the Japhta K Masemola Road and its rubbish bins, burned tyres and scattered rubbish on the road.

Busiswa Buva, 36, said she had not been paid since she started working for the company in January.

“We get up every day and work from 7.30am until 4.30pm. We have never given the owner a hard time. We do our job properly but then he has the nerve to not give us our money,” said Busiswa.

Another employee, Vuyokazi Williams, said the workers will not return to work until they are paid.

“The owner is taking us for fools. We have been waiting for him to pay us our money, but he keeps on lying and saying that we will get it the following month. We took to the streets because we were tired. We will only go back after getting paid,” said Vuyokazi.

Thando Pimpi, the Ward 93 councillor, spoke with the owner of Mbolompo Construction on the workers’ behalf.

“He promised he would fix the problem,” said Pimpi. “He said the banks were giving him problems. I hope he stays true to his promise. No one is supposed to work without getting paid.”

Attempts by Scrolla.Africa to get comment from the owner of Mbolompo Construction via WhatsApp messages and phone calls went unanswered.

Luthando Tyhalibhongo, the City of Cape Town spokesperson, said service providers like Mbolompo Construction had a responsibility to ensure they had sufficient cash reserves to pay workers after their first month of work.

“The contractor started with the provision of services in January and invoiced the City at the end of January,” said Tyhalibhongo.

“The standard turnaround time for payment of the invoice is 30 days after submission, and the contractor is aware of this.”

He said failure to provide the required daily EPWP documentation to the City, including proof of payment to workers, can result in a penalty of R1,000 a day.

“We are working urgently to resolve the matter in the interest of the workers,” he said.

Pictured above: The workers protesting. 

Image source: Buziwe Nocuze


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