National Union of metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has described as unacceptable Autopax’s announcement that it will not be able to pay its employees their full salaries for January. Autopax is the operator of Translux and City to City buses and a subsidiary of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The state-owned entity has been placed under administration following claims of corruption and maladministration. The operator says that it will only be able to pay its employees 50% of their salary in January.

Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says they are expected to meet with PRASA on Tuesday to map a way forward.

“It is truly dismaying that our members are faced with this type of situation. It is completely unfair that workers can put in the work and at the end of the month, salaries won’t be paid; it is completely unacceptable. We have been promised a meeting with all stakeholders tomorrow morning to deal with this issue. We are hoping today there will be some communique from PRASA management about when salaries will be paid.”

Hlubi-Majola says state-owned enterprises, such as Autopax, are in a financial crisis.

“We are really in a crisis of SOEs where these organisations have literally been run to the ground by the ANC deployments that have been sent to run these institutions; they have been run into a state of paralysis. Autopax can’t even pay salaries; that is how bad it is. So we have to try and navigate within that murky space; that is what makes all of this extremely difficult.”

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The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) says they are yet to establish when Autopax is expected to pay workers their full salaries for January.

SATAWU spokesperson, Zanele Sabela, says the union is attempting to confirm with Autopax when the remainder of the salaries will be paid.

“Now we are told that they will only get paid 50% from Autopax revenue, which now leaves the workers short-changed. So it doesn’t mention when the rest of the 50% cent will be paid. That is why our leaders will be getting in touch with management to find out what is happening.”