Activists may be exploiting the jobless

2009-11-17 00:00

AFTER handing over a memorandum of demand to the Premier’s Office last week, the SA Unemployed People’s Movement (SAUPM) is taking R10 from unsuspecting jobless people with the promise of a R1 500 monthly basic income grant from the government.

Yesterday about 200 people formed long queues at the offices of the movement in Boom Street, waiting to register for the grant at a fee of R10. The movement distributed fliers stating that the grant will be received from the government.

Some of the applicants were not entirely satisfied. A 27-year-old unemployed woman who wished to remain nameless said she doesn’t understand the need to pay for a government grant. “We’re paying, but we’re not told when this will come into effect.”

Last week SAUPM, an NGO established in August last year, marched to the Premier’s Office to deliver the memorandum. The Witness reported that they demanded parliamentarians sacrifice their salaries for two months as a contribution towards education or else there won’t be schooling next year.

They have also threatened that if their demands are not met, they will bring the 2010 World Cup tournament to a standstill.

National organiser Lungani Khwela defended the R10 fee and said paying it doesn’t qualify anyone for grant. “It has been decided by the people in one of our gatherings in various parts of Durban that a contribution of R10 needed to be made for the operational functions of the movement.

“If in Pietermaritzburg people are not aware of that, then that should be attributed to poor leadership skills. We have people whom we trust in our offices and if they fail to explain the operations of the movement to the people, then we will have to come down and sort the matter out.”

Cyril Xaba of the Premier’s Office confirmed the SAUPM memorandum was accepted last week. He said the R10 registration fee exploits unsuspecting people by using the unemployment crisis and it may well be against the law.

“We know nothing about the grant. With regard to their demands, the premier will convene a workshop for the movement detailing the workings of government. The workshop will also explain the government’s plan and what has been done so far with regard to the unemployment crisis.”




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