Unemployed people’s group lays harassment charges against MEC

2010-01-26 00:00

THE South African Unemployed People’s Movement has laid charges of intimidation and harassment against Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe, after he and his officials raided their offices last year, the organisation said yesterday.

The MEC raided the movement’s head office in Pietermaritzburg last year when he found out the organisation was illegally registering unemployed people to obtain government grants and charging them R10 each as a “registration fee”.

The registration came on the heels of the looting spree of a large retail store in Durban last year and the organisation’s threats to disrupt the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The MEC is said to have stormed into the movement’s offices, calling its members shameless criminals who were robbing widows, and he had two members of the organisation arrested that day.

The chairman of the organisation, Mduduzi Hlongwane, said in communique that the movement’s leaders are living in fear because Radebe’s assertions had misrepresented them and created a lot of enemies for them.

He said the organisation was legitimate and the MEC’s action against it was wrong.

“Radebe called us criminals without even allowing us to explain our side of the issue,” said Hlongwane.

He called the officials who took part in the raid Radebe’s “henchmen”.

He said the money they were collecting was a registration fee.

“As an organisation, we can charge a registration fee, and that money was going to be used to buy things that the organisation needs to operate.”

Hlongwane said that in spite of the challenges, the movement will continue its campaign to persuade the Presidency to set up a fund to assist all South Africa’s unemployed people.

“We want to continue to engage the government in a meaningful way to set up that fund for the unemployed people,” he said.

Police provincial director Phindile Radebe confirmed that the organisation has laid charges against the MEC.

 

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