Upset workers

Abe Braaf, community leader, Parkwood

This is an open letter to the mayor. We are responding to the article in the Southern Mail (“City jobs called into question”, Southern Mail, May 17).

We place on record that we have not received any meaningful response to our letter. We have come to note from discussions with other community leaders and citizens who sent letters to your office, that you do not respond to some letters as you may hope that it will frustrate and cause senders to give up.

We are not satisfied with the response of William Akim (Ward 66 councillor) and Eddie Andrews (mayoral committee member for area south) and are deeply concerned that the City of Cape Town is taking the matter so lightly and without fear.

Former City of Cape Town Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers and some of the current workers have approached us informing us that they are not satisfied with the response and confirm that our concerns are genuine and need to be taken further.

In our previous letter to your office, we stated clearly that we wanted to meet with your office, that you investigate the concerns of our clients and that you place a hold on current contracts in Ward 66, but none of the response is being adhered to or acted upon.

Considering the aforementioned, we have decided to make a further appeal for a meeting. We therefore call on your office to kindly consider meeting a delegation (10 people) from our office and clients within seven working days as from date of this letter, at a venue in Parkwood or Ottery. There is a civic centre in both Parkwood and Ottery.

We commit ourselves to have peaceful and meaningful discussions as we have only one goal in mind, which is to resolve the matter amicably.

Failing this appeal will leave us no option but to take further action which may include:

A High Court application and Constitutional Court if need be; a call for an investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission, public protector, ombudsperson of the City of Cape Town, national minister responsible for the EPWP and or any relevant authority; daily pickets at your Cape Town Office, the two offices of councillor Akim and site in Ward 66 where there are EPWP workers present; and daily pickets at certain venues which attract tourists.

Some citizens of Cape Town are so upset that all concerned people want to have protests in their wards. We have asked them to hold back until our meeting with your office.

In the interim, we will continue our protest action in Ward 66 and gather the concerns of the residents until June 2 which is the cut of date of the seven working days.

Your EPWP is riddled with many problems not mentioned in our previous letter to you and in our media releases, among others: Workers not on site, but getting paid; workers using drugs and drinking during work; your ward councillors, CLOs or those heading contracts employing people/friends not on job seekers database; non-payment and incorrect amount payment of wages; and long waiting period for payment.

Your urgent attention to this appeal of our clients and appeal from our office will be highly appreciated.

Eddie Andrews, Mayoral committee member for area south, responds: An agreement between City officials and Mr Braaf that he (Mr Braaf) would contact the City at his convenience to schedule a meeting as Mr Braaf was unable to attend a previous scheduled meeting remains unchanged.

Mr Braaf has not attempted to contact officials as discussed and numerous emails, of which the City has proof, have gone unanswered.

It is important to note that the City of Cape Town’s Jobseekers Database currently consists of more than 450 000 registered persons.

To date, approximately
30 000 confirmed work opportunities have been created in the 2016/17 financial year.

Registration on the database is not a guarantee of receiving a work opportunity. The database system selects potential workers through a computerised randomisation process that was designed to minimise human interference in the identification of workers to be considered for EPWP projects.

The randomisation criteria is informed by the nature of the project as clearly defined by the line department implementing or executing a specific service, and includes consideration of: age, gender, skills, the nature of work preferred by the jobseeker, and the location of a project.

This means that because there is no discrimination set on the basis of people living in the same household, it is possible that through the computerised randomisation process, members of the same household can be selected for the same project.

There is a policy (which is currently under review) that clearly states who, how and when applicants must be involved in the process of randomisation, and councillors are not part of this process.

The EPWP and subsequent implementation processes are always audited by the Auditor-General of South Africa, making the EPWP one of the most critical service delivery initiatives of the City of Cape Town.

The EPWP is a national programme and was first implemented in 2004.

Numerous attempts by City officials to engage with Mr Braaf have been unsuccessful. A meeting that had been scheduled with Mr Braaf had to be cancelled because he did not attend.

Mr Braaf was requested to bring along all relevant information regarding his concerns mentioned in the letter as well as the names and identity numbers of the complainants, and the names of City employees that Mr Braaf may have attempted to communicate with regarding this query.