‘Pitbull’ workers demand to be paid

2010-10-13 00:00

THOUSANDS of rands are owed to Msunduzi Municipality contractors tasked with disconnecting and reconnecting power during “Operation Pitbull”, the campaign launched by the council recently to ferret out businesses illegally connected to the city’s electricity and water grids.

Although the operation has netted more that R7 million since its launch over a month-and-a-half ago, the municipality’s management has apparently failed to pay the teams who find and switch off the illegal connections.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday the contractors, who wished not to named for fear of losing their contracts, said they have not been paid for up to four months for the work they have done.

The contractors allege that since they started doing work for the municipality in July they have not sniffed a cent for their hard work.

They said that more than 30 workers who conduct reconnections and disconnections are each owed between R20 000 and R22 000 for nearly four months’ work.

“We have not received an answer from the municipality about our payments since July,” a contractor told The Witness.

“We were told by an employee in the finance department that our employers were informed that we would be paid in periods of three to four months, and our bosses told us that this is hogwash.”

They now want Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler to explain to them why they have not been paid, and they are demanding an answer as to when they will be paid.

The angry contractors said that while the municipality has netted millions of rands through their sweat, they have had to use their own money to do the work.

“We have instalments on the vehicles we used to do the jobs, and servicing, petrol and rents to pay.

“It’s unfair of the municipality not to consider our sustainability,” the contractor said.

The contractors also said they also feel dejected as the job of cutting residents’ electricity off is dangerous.

They said some residents whose electricity supplies they disconnected had pointed guns at them

Others had threatened to burn their vehicles if their power was cut off.

They said they put in long hours, usually starting as early as 7 am and knocking off around 10 pm, but they have nothing to show for it.

The municipality did not respond to The Witness’ questions about the matter at the time of going to print.

Electricity disconnection contractors

We have instalments to pay on the vehicles we used to do the jobs, and servicing, petrol and rents to pay.

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