Workers unite in protest

2017-05-17 06:00
Aggrieved community health workers and caregivers send a clear message about their suffering during a recent protest to highlight their plight. They were hired on fixed-term contracts by non-governmental organisations.Photo: Teboho Setena

Aggrieved community health workers and caregivers send a clear message about their suffering during a recent protest to highlight their plight. They were hired on fixed-term contracts by non-governmental organisations.Photo: Teboho Setena

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The DA in the Free State has strongly objected to the government’s instruction that each department should adopt a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and allocate R1 million towards it.

The DA objected to this instruction during the debate of the 2017-’18 budget and the Appropriation Bill tabled by the MEC of Finance, Elzabe Rockman, on Tuesday, 9 May.

“This is nothing but an attempt to funnel money into the pockets of connected cadres. The function of subsidising NGOs clearly falls within the mandate of the Department of Social Development. The DA objected to the 2017-’18 budget on the grounds that the Appropriation Bill tabled by Rockman fails to adequately allocate resources to programmes that will attract investment, encourage economic growth and create jobs for the more than 485 000 Free Staters that are unemployed,” said David van Vuuren, the DA’s chief whip in the Free State Legislature.

“Although we acknowledge the challenges faced by government, we cannot condone the misallocation of resources towards programmes that only superficially address problems the people of the Free State face.”

The people of the Free State deserve a budget that is geared towards the delivery of quality services, the maintenance and expansion of infrastructure and job creation,” said Van Vuuren.

The Objection comes at the height of a huge outcry by people working for NGOs in the Free State over low wages and the inability to address their allegedly appalling working conditions.

On Monday (15/05), the employees of the Free State Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) at Bloemfontein’s Jean Webber Home downed tools over a wage dispute. They demanded improved working and living conditions.

Elizabeth Nyapotse, branch chairperson of the union Hospersa, said they decided to protest after talks with management over a wage increase deadlocked.

Danie Marais, acting director of the APD, said a meeting with the union was held to pave the way towards addressing the demands of the employees.

It has come to light that community health workers and caregivers employed by Lesedi-Lechabile Primary Care have not been paid their wages for April.

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