Moon’s ward revolts in jobs row

2011-05-27 00:00

THE Woodlands community was in uproar yesterday, and some residents were even threatening to beat up former Ward 32 councillor Patrick Moon for allegedly hiring people from outside their ward to work on the Wildland project.

During a heated meeting outside a community hall in Site 11, community members accused the councillor of neglecting them, claiming that he had accused them of voting for an independent candidate and not for the African National Congress.

The conflict started when 10 people decided to quit working for the project, which involved tree-planting, because they had not been paid after working the entire month.

Vincent Myeni said the community held a meeting at which it was confirmed the project manager wanted to hire 40 people.

“We then jotted down names of people who were selected from different areas of Ward 32, who were going to begin working on Wednesday.”

He said the community gathered at the hall on Wednesday when Moon was supposed to tell them when they would start work and to learn if he had been able to negotiate terms and conditions of employment to avoid exploiting people. Moon did not pitch up.

“Moon phoned me at about 2 pm on Wednesday to say these people cannot start work because they still need to be trained, but this was a lie because those who had worked on this project said no training is required to dig and plant trees,” said Myeni.

Those who were chosen to work decided to go to the plantation yesterday to start work, only to find people from Honeyville and Copesville already at work.

A confrontation followed and the police were called in to calm the community members down as they demanded answers from Moon.

Myeni accused the ANC branch executive committee of depriving community members of job opportunities because it believed these members had voted for an independent candidate.

“We want transparency when there are any employment opportunities in the area, because we wanted to avoid dividing our community,” he added.

The community members balked at Moon’s plan to hand the names of the workers to the newly elected councillor, Mary Schalkwyk, whom they apparently dislike.

An elderly woman claimed that Moon had never paid her for the work she had done for him.

Youths in the community told Moon that if he did not offer them the chance to work, it would lead to their becoming involved in crime.

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