About 50 Community Work Programme (CWP) workers took to the streets in protest after they were not paid their salaries.
Close to 100 workers from Mitchell’s Plain downed tools in the Town Centre on Tuesday April 4. According to the CWP participants, they had not been paid since Friday March 31. The workers are paid monthly.
CWP is a national government initiative, with local NPO, the Mitchell’s Plain People’s Forum (MPPF) who manages the project. The CWP has an office at Duneside Primary in Westridge.
Danny Rass, chairman of the MPPF, said there had been problems with late payments over the past three months, and that monies owed started at around R640 for those who worked 64 hours a month.
“People are frustrated, because they work hard for their monies and in turn are not paid. Over the past few months people were paid late and now they are not being paid. The workers have families that they have to look after and support,” he said.
Mr Rass said the workers had made contact with the people who were supposed to pay them, but they had not resolved the matter. Desiree Brookes, a supervisor at the Mitchell’s Plain branch, is frustrated because she had been penalised for making late payments – or none at all – on her debt.
“This takes me a step back because I have to get money elsewhere, that I still have to pay back. Then, we also have people who want answers about the payments but we as supervisors can’t help them. This needs to be sorted out, as soon as possible, but also make sure that it does not happen again,” she said.
Another CWP worker, Ruwaydah Curnow, said it was difficult to motivate people when they were repeatedly paid late.
“It’s a great programme that’s working in Mitchell’s Plain, but if people are not paid, they are demotivated. This is not on and people want answers. We will only return to work if we are paid,” she said.
Legadima Leso, spokeswoman for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, said the reasons for the late payment were, the payment system and capturing wrong information on the system by an employee.
“The participant payment system challenges were experienced in January 2017. The challenges arose from unanticipated technical glitches linked to the CWP Management Information System (MIS) being transferred from a private service provider’s server to the State Information Technology Agency’s (SITA’s) server,” he said.
Mr Leso added that because of the time it took to resolve the technical problems, participants were paid late for January 2017.
He said the delayed January payments then had a domino effect which led to delays in the payment of February and March 2017 participant wages.
“However, implementing age-
nts, who manage day-to-day CWP site operations on behalf of the department, were made aware of the late payments as well as the reasons thereof and they were asked to relay the information to participants.
“Working with the SITA, the department anticipates the challenges being sorted out soon.
“The department views these delays in a serious light and is concerned about their effect on participants’ livelihoods,” he said.