DA requests probe into allegations of erratic and underpayment of EPWP workers in Taung

16 Aug 2021 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will through its Deputy Shadow Minister of Labour and Employment, Michael Bagraim, request a probe into allegations of erratic and underpayment of salaries by the North West Department of Public Works to Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers in Taung.

Last week Saturday, the DA met with the EPWP workers from across 27 villages in Taung who are contracted under the Department of Public Works.

The workers indicated that they have been under the employment of the department since 2017 and started off receiving a stipend which has increased to R1 320 this year.

They were shocked to receive their SARS income documents which indicate that they earn R2 640 a month. The SARS documents contradict the salary advisements which clearly states that they earn R1 320.

The SARS income documents also state that they are supposed to be paid their salaries on or before the 31st of each month and yet they’ve received their salaries erratically.

After identifying inconsistencies with the SARS income document and their salary advisement, workers sent a representative to a manager within the department and were met with threats that if they pursued the matter even further, their contracts would be terminated.

On 15 July 2021, the workers wrote a letter of grievances directed at the former EPWP Manager at the Public Works office in Vryburg, Mr Kgosi Tlou. The issues raised touched on concerns with regards to the employment contract, salary payment dates, overtime work on holidays and leave benefits.

Mr Kgosi Tlou has been subsequently relocated from the Vryburg Office to Mahikeng before he could give feedback on the grievances raised.

This is not the first time the EPWP programme has come under fire, in 2019, the DA raised concerns regarding allegations that an ANC councillor in Ward 8 Takaneng was giving out jobs to ANC card-carrying members and gave a Community Liaison Officer position to his girlfriend.

The DA wrote to the Municipal Manager, Katlego Gabanakgosi, and the former Executive Mayor, Nyoko Motlhabane, who failed to reply or take any action.

The DA will also request its Provincial Spokesperson on Public Works, Freddy Sonakile, MPL, to write to MEC Oageng Molapisi requesting a full investigation into the allegations being made. Action must be taken against anyone who is unduly benefitting and siphoning off money from EPWP workers’ salaries.