Ditsobotla Municipality’s ghost workers claim questioned

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Trade unions in the embattled Ditsobotla Local Municipality in Lichtenburg in the North West have questioned the validity of the process used to verify workers in the municipality. This after Acting North West Premier Nono Maloyi recently revealed that 28 ghost employees have been identified. The unions however say many of these workers have been working on a contract basis for many months and should now be employed permanently.

“We have already discovered 28 ghost workers. But let me tell people of Ditsobotla, we are not going to pay ghost workers using government money. The ghost workers in Ditsobotla we will evict them and even those who have employed them, we are coming for you. The police will come in and do its work in Ditsobotla,” says Maloyi.

These findings were revealed by acting Premier Maloyi during the Presidential Imbizo held in Potchefstroom recently. The Ditsobotla Local Municipality used to be well run for the past five years however there has been instability in the administration and its council and their staff numbers drastically increased.

Some employees were hired on a temporary basis working for the EPWP programme amongst others and were then converted to general workers and later hired without following the proper procedure.

“Our call to the municipality is that those workers must be reinstated because the Labour Relations Act is very clear that no worker can work for more than 38 years. There is one old man here, he has been working here for 31 years but today he is called ghost employee. It cannot happen the Labour Relation is very clear about contract workers, casual workers very clear about labour brokers and we have been calling for ANC government to do insourcing,” says COSATU General Secretary Solly Phetoe.

Its affiliate SAMWU says it will defend workers in a court of law if need be.

“It is wrong to call workers ghost workers if you have given them instruction for more than twelve months and all of a sudden if we want to terminate their contract you call them ghost workers. Contracts were terminated formally through an official letter, where is a ghost there. So, these are employees who were exploited by this municipality, contract workers who were doing normal duties in the municipality and not paid what is due to them and we are going to fight to have them reinstated permanently in the municipality,” Secretary-General for SAMWU Dumisani Magagula explains.

The Hawks in the province says they are only investigating one case of a suspected ghost worker.

“We are not conducting verification of the alleged ghost employees. The municipality is handling the process; we have one case of suspected ghost employee, which is still under investigation,” says Hawks Spokesperson NW Tinyiko Mathebula.

The cash strapped municipality has not paid workers for months while Eskom debt is mounting.

Several service providers have not received their money as well. The DA in the province has now called on the national government to take over the running of the municipality.