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Cape Town -
Staff from the fisheries branch of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have handed a document to members of Parliament complaining of wasteful expenditure, nepotism, fraud and the scrapping of critical posts.
On Monday, a group of Fisheries staff members held a protest outside the Fisheries building on the Foreshore, saying they were “sick and tired” of problems in the department. The protest was organised by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union.
Some of the placards called for a reversal of the decision to abolish posts in Fisheries and for all pending disciplinary action to be finalised.
The group, who wrote to MPs as “concerned employees”, submitted a five-page list of problems in the Fisheries Department to the Portfolio Committee of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), and called on MPs for “urgent intervention at DAFF”.
They wrote it was “with great concern and disappointment” that they had been unable to resolve problems in the Fisheries Department, despite numerous attempts, and now were forced to call on MPs in the portfolio committee for help.
“Even as we write this letter anonymously, we know if found out, the employees at the forefront in fighting these injustices will be victimised by management, as victimisation is the order of the day here at Fisheries, but we also feel we can no longer keep quiet… The situation has to be brought out into the open.”
The problems include:
- Appointments of officials without following the proper recruitment process. This, they claimed, was nepotism.
- Management deliberately stalling the filling of certain posts over the past three years because some managers had “malicious interests”.
- This led to the posts being abolished after being vacant for some time.
- Abolishing the critical posts of compliance officers and managers, when poaching was at a high level.
- Discrimination, in which some employees were paid lower salaries than others, despite doing the same jobs.
- A manager taking leave, but not submitting a form.
- A “ghost director”. The head of communications returned to work after his suspension was lifted, but has been prevented from doing his job. The department appointed someone in an acting position to do the man’s job, yet paid the director “a huge salary”.