Tempers flare at Transport Dept

2009-12-11 00:00

TEMPERS were running high at the Transport Department building yesterday as National Education and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) leaders addressed the Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu, in the boardroom while department employees toyi-toyied outside.

Mchunu was in a management committee meeting with the union discussing issues pertaining to labour brokers and the absorption of service providers employed by contractors into the department.

Nehawu branch executive committee member Fanle Sibisi said the burning issue was the call for departmental head Chris Hlabisa to resign from his post.

“As much as we have problems, Hlabisa’s one needs urgent attention. We also want the MEC to understand that it doesn’t go down well to have labour brokers instead of having people employed under the department.

“We’ve said that contract workers and cleaners should be absorbed by the department, but instead, early this year many people lost their jobs,” Sibisi said.

When the labour broker issue was raised, the department had promised to absorb the cleaners and do away with contractors.

“We were taken by surprise when the old contractors were replaced by new ones who also brought their own people with them,” said Sibisi.

“This meant that the previous workers under the old contractors were out of jobs.”

The Witness reported on Wednesday that the union has made submissions that Hlabisa should resign for allegedly failing the department on a number of occasions.

The submissions allege that Hlabisa misled the department’s management committee and the provincial legislature on the structure of the department.

He is also accused of inciting division within the department. “His leadership style is bad so we believe that he should be relieved of his duties.

“How do you explain his funding of a jazz festival to the tune of more than R500 000?” Sibisi said.

He said the MEC and Nehawu branch and provincial leaders will meet on Sunday, December 20, where the former will report back on issues that were raised by the union early this year.

The MEC will also attend to the issues that were raised in yesterday’s meeting, he added.

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