Workers Go Unpaid while SASSA Employees Enjoy the Holidays

Yesterday. 30 December 2020, the matter of workers going unpaid due to SASSA employees being away on leave for the holidays came to my attention.

The affected workers wrote to me seeking assistance in this regard as they received a letter from their employer Renaissance Cleaning Services management informing them that their salaries had been delayed and would only be paid once funds from SASSA have cleared.

It is disgraceful that people who are tasked with the welfare of the most economically vulnerable among us can take leave without having ensured that contingency plans are in place so that these types of unjustifiable wrongdoings do not occur.

Earlier this month, I was called to address another group of disgruntled workers contracted by third parties on SASSA related projects. They too were unhappy about the way their contracts were handled and the lack of accountability relating to constant delays in payment of their salaries. Following that meeting, I wrote to SASSA bringing their issues to its attention, but to no avail.

It seems that at a time when countless numbers of families in our country struggle to make ends meet amid this period of COVID-19 related economic frustrations, our government continues to display a lack of conscience and care for the people who need its protection the most.

Why are we as a nation allowing agencies such as SASSA to continue to abuse our people? Why is it that trade union COSATU and the SACP who claim to be the vanguard of the working poor are silent as workers across the nation are mistreated by SASSA under their watch?

This situation is unacceptable and must change.

Those at SASSA who are responsible for such transgressions must be dealt with in the strongest of terms.

Their deeds must not be left unpunished when they and their families have enjoyed their December holidays at the expense of vulnerable workers who need every penny so they too can ensure that their children also like all others enjoy Christmas.

During my time as Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, I committed to cutting out middlemen and rather insource all cleaning staff and security guards, a move that not only gave them a sense of job security, but also the dignity that comes with the feeling of sustainable employment.

While I unfortunately was not able to complete my term in office as Mayor of Johannesburg, we as ActionSA want to assure those who continuously call on us to intervene in these matters that we have adopted insourcing as one of our policy positions and will be unrelenting in fighting for their rights in this regard.