Long-service employees awarded

2015-11-18 06:00
RETIREES of the Department of Public Works in the Northern Cape. Photos: Supplied

RETIREES of the Department of Public Works in the Northern Cape. Photos: Supplied

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THE Department of Roads and Public Works in the Northern Cape held its annual departmental long-service employee awards ceremony on Thursday, 5 November at the Flamingo Casino.

Employees who had been in the service of the state for more than 20 years and those who are retiring from the state service were recognised.

This year there were awards for graduates within the department and those workers who participated in the national sports tournament of the department.

The head of the department, Kholekile Nogwili, gave an overview of the event since its inception in Kuruman four years ago.

Nicolas Saal, an employee from Springbok, Namakwa District, gave a speech on behalf of other retirees.

Saal said he had joined the department in December 1970 in Springbok.

For him it was not difficult to land the job, because he and others used to be called in as seasonal or part-time workers, paid cash in a brown envelope.

He started as a general worker whose basic duties included water provision and the construction of roads and dams. He later became a driver.

Saal told of how, during these years, they had travelled extensively under difficult conditions; they would sleep in the trucks while their white colleagues would be booked into hotels.

“I have travelled to places such as Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Pampierstad under difficult conditions. Things started improving in February 1983, when I was permanently employed,” said Oom Saal, as he is affectionately called in the department.

Oom Saal sang the praises of and thanked the new democratic dispensation for allowing him and his colleagues to enjoy better working conditions and equal treatment, as they could now also sleep in hotels and travel in airplanes for out-of-town meetings.

“I hope to enjoy my retirement in the company of my wife and grandchildren,” he said proudly.

During his keynote address, the MEC of Public Works in the province, David Rooi, praised the recipients and said that there were 26 retirees, the majority of who hailed from the John Taolo Gaetsewe District.

He paid tribute to those who had passed on and said he hoped they were resting in a better place.

Rooi praised eight individual workers of the department who recently graduated in the fields of civil engineering, business leadership, financial management, governance and political transformation.

“We are aware of the challenges that the Northern Cape – and indeed South Africa as a whole – is facing regarding the shortage of scarce skills, which includes all fields of engineering, as well as the competitive salaries provided by the private sector and mining industry.

“Allow me to congratulate Itumeleng Bulane, Thebeetsile Thupe and Tanryn Johnson, who are now registered professionals.”

The MEC emphasised that this instilled a sense of confidence that the department was appointing qualified, competent engineers who were capable of performing work above the required standard.

The event was graced by the presence of Gail Parker and Gladys Oliphant, members of the provincial legislature.

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