PUPILS and teachers were turned away at Philani Primary School in Imbali Unit 13 on Tuesday, as workers barricaded the gate with burning tyres. Contracting staff who are currently working on renovations at the school since December 2019 say they decided to close the school after not receiving payment for January last Friday.They told Echo that no one from Pamodia [the company that was awarded the tender] has come to them with explanations over the non-payment.Employees said Pamodia is the main contractor with 11 sub-contractors and one of those 11 businesses was meant to pay the contracting staff at the school.“We will not go back to work until we get our money. If they do not give us our money we will close this school until payment is received. We are angry.“We thought we would get paid on Friday so we could take care of financial commitments that we have. “We feel as if Pamodia is undermining us and they are not taking us seriously. We need to support our families,” said one of the employees.Philane Shange of Jimbozi General Trading which is one of the sub-contractors said they are concerned that if the main contractor does not pay staff, the staff will then demand money from the contractor.“If they do not pay in time, this is going to get us in trouble with the workers because they will want their money from us. They must sort out their problems before it is too late because this is going to have a negative impact on the school as well,” he said. Thamsanqa Sithole, ward councillor and a member of steering project committee in the area said they have met with the workers and they have contacted the main contractor. “The main contractor has promised that the workers will be paid on Friday before 1pm. We will then have a meeting with workers at 2pm. “We have decided that they must stop working until next week Monday,” he said. Project coordinator, Tshepo Moetsho, confirmed that workers will be paid on Friday.“We had an issue with the client that did not pay on time which caused delay on our side, but the workers will be paid on Friday,” he said. KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they are disturbed with the actions of closing the school because the workers were not paid. “We will check what has caused the delay because as the department we subscribe to 30 days stipend. We will investigate and check if the contractor was paid on time or not because when you are doing a business like this there must be trust among each other,” he said.