‘Resolve our issues or we strike’

2019-03-20 06:02
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaHospersa members march to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaHospersa members march to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

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EZEMVELO KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife employees under the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) threatened to shut down the Ezemvelo offices if their issues are not attended to immediately.

The employees marched to the Ezemvelo offices in Town Bush Valley last Friday where they submitted a memorandum of demands which included, among other things, a demand for permanent employment.

Hospersa provincial secretary Popson Kunene said employees are tired of the employer ignoring their issues, which they say have persisted for over two years now.

Kunene said they tried to negotiate with the employer in 2016 but since then the employer has been avoiding them and not coming forward with a solution.

“We have engaged the employer in the negotiation process but the employer has failed to resolve other issues. We last negotiate in the financial year of 2015/2016 and after that we sent our memorandum, jointly with Nehawu, in 2016,’ he said.

Kunene said there are a number issues that are affecting Ezemvelo Wildlife employees, one such issue being that management had allegedly terminated the contracts of workers who had with them for over three years in order to employ their own relatives in their place.

“They employ their relatives without considering the employees who have been serving the organisation for years.

“In some of the reserve there is a high level of staff shortages. There are instances where field rangers have to go out alone, without any assistance,” he said.

Kunene blamed the high level of rhino poaching in KZN on “poor management” and “poor planning”.

Hospersa provincial chairperson Thami Zondi said that if they do not get their responses within 14 days, they are going to shut down the Ezemvelo Wildlife offices.

“We will embark on a strike and that is not a threat, it is a promise. It is time now that this organisation listens to and attends to employees issues,” Zondi said.

The memorandum was accepted by chairperson of the board at KZN Wildlife William Mngoma, who promised that they will meet with the board and attend to the issues. However, he said he asked for more than just 14 days.

“The board meeting will only sit in April now but in the meantime we can look at the issues and put them on the agenda of our meeting. That is all that I am asking. It’s not a delaying tactic. Some of the issues that you have raised might have to wait until April. I do not want to make promises that I cannot keep,” he said.

Zondi told Mngoma that there are issues that can be resolved before April, such as the worker’s safety. It was agreed that those issues will be dealt with before April.

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