Chaos as Labour office gates are locked

2014-04-25 00:00

AFTER the gates to the Department of Labour were padlocked by unknown people yesterday, staff were reluctant to enter their work premises, even after locksmiths had cleared their way.

The gates had been locked with strong chains and padlocks.

Messages of protest were posted on the door and on the gates, reading, “We are not going to vote; We don’t want [manager] Sindi Zungu; We are tired of this now”.

The office, which serves the public from all over the district, was unable to operate yesterday morning.

Nomalanga Ngobese from Greytown told The Witness that she spent R120 on transport but was amongst hundreds of people who were not helped.

“We spend a lot of money coming to the office. I was here from 5 am. When I arrived I thought this was the way the office was normally locked.

“But when the staff arrived they said they were unable to open these locks,” said Ngobese.

She said the minister of labour should come and address problems at this office.

“This started last year but it’s not been resolved. Staff were making allegations of maladministration, victimisation and intimidation against one of their managers,” said a man who did not want his name in the paper.

Staff who asked not to be named said they feared for their lives as they did not know who locked the gates or why or what was inside the offices.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union regional secretary Zimasile Giyama said they had not been informed about the findings of the investigation into the situation at the DOL offices.

“We are still shocked at what is happening in this department. Workers are fearful to go inside after this. Management must assure staff of their security. Members of the public are also not happy that they don’t get service,” said Giyama.

Department spokesperson Nhlanhla Khumalo said they had opened the gates and instructed officials to get back to work as normal.

Regarding the existing staff problems, he said, “The investigation process is now complete and human resources proceedings are in place. All affected parties have been informed of the proceedings by the Human Resources section.”

He said action will be taken against whomever was found to be responsible for the interruption of service delivery to clients.

He added that they have requested the assistance of police to monitor the situation, which will be assisted by 24-hour security service personnel.

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