Pacofs boss claims Nehawu protesters manhandled him

2015-07-18 14:33

The chief executive officer of the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State, Teboho Macholo, claims that disgruntled employees who stormed a stage, disrupting a play in Bloemfontein on Thursday have become unruly and previously threatened to attack him.

Macholo said he was forced to get a protection order against some members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) after he was allegedly manhandled earlier in March “followed by more threats” thereafter.

Nehawu, however, see Macholo’s protection order as an act of shutting the door on the union members and thus barring them from engaging him on their grievances.

On the other hand, organisers of the Free State Arts Festival said they were incurring extra costs after their shows were disrupted by Nehawu protesters over matters that did not have anything to do with the festival.

Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (Pacofs) were only providing support and venues for the festival. Organisers said the festival, which was supposed to end today, will now run until tomorrow at an extra cost to have plays that were disrupted shown again.

“We had to seek an interdict preventing protesters from causing any further disruption after Thursday’s incident. They stormed the Sand du Plessis Theatre stage while kiddies show Liewe Heksie was still on and thus leaving poor children shaken because they came in singing and dancing and caused some havoc,” said festival organiser and attorney Johan Oosthuizen.

Nehawu Free State secretary Mokapi Mokhachane said their members, who are employed by Pacofs, decided to storm the stage after efforts to engage Macholo failed.

“The CEO interdicted them against getting any closer to him and this means they had nowhere else to go and raise their concerns. His action provoked workers who are alleging, among others, maladministration at Pacofs,” he said.

“The CEO is spending money on hotels for artists when there are rooms at Pacofs and pay to rent costumes elsewhere when the organisation has its own wardrobe. He is wasting money on all these and later said there is no money when workers raise issues with him.”

Macholo has asked for those accusing him to support their allegations with evidence. “There is a third external force at work here and these workers have previously humiliated me, manhandled me and they continued to storm my office and threatened me. I can’t fight back and I had to get a protection order and now they claim I don’t want to engage them when they are the ones who are being unruly and trying to make the organisation ungovernable,” he said.

“They are aware that there is still room for engagement, the board is ready to meet them and they can still engage my office as long as they are not being violent. I have opened a criminal case after I was manhandled. 
Read more on:    nehawu

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