CWD has been operating in Cape Town since 1970 to “deal with the abject poverty and injustices suffered by under-privileged people”.
All 49 members of staff were issued retrenchment letters last Friday.
Some will receive their last salary this week while others will stay on until the end of January.
While CWD bosses would not comment on the reasons for the retrenchment, their November 15 letter to staff puts it down to money. “Having advised you of the dire state of CWD finances and ever-increasing liabilities, we regrettably must inform you that the entire CWD and all projects will be shut,” states the letter.
“This letter serves as notice of termination due to retrenchments We are very sorry that this has happened, but want to thank you very much for the service you have given to the poor and marginalised through your work CWD. We wish you well in whatever the future brings you.”
Staff member Andre Marais, who has worked for CWD for the last three years, said the retrenchment notice was “cruel”.
“Isn’t it ironic that we get fired at Christmas time and our employer is (a) faith-based organisation? I’m going to be broke for Christmas. Who is going to find a job this time of the year?”
Marais works at the Athlone Cultural Hub in Lawrence Road in Athlone. He said CWD was going to “sell off the building”, which CWD would not discuss.
Marais said CWD’s financial problems had been ongoing and this “crisis is the culmination of 12 months of trauma”.
“They told us that we have run out of funds. It comes from mismanagement. A former director had left and brought this on the organisation. He ran this organisation into the ground.”
The Cape Argus on Monday talked to CWD’s interim director Walter Tarr, but he would not be drawn into any discussions, saying they were “going through retrenchment” and “not disclosing” any details right away.
Cleaning staff member Angela Johnson on Monday said: “I’ve been working for CWD for 15 years and on Friday we got the bad news. I feel heartsore.”
Another staff member, who did not want to be named, said she had “mixed emotions”. “All the programmes will be closed. I need to look for a job.”
Eugene Jackson, CWD’s head of staff development, which includes human resource management, defended the organisation on Monday.
“All staff are being retrenched. There are no exclusions,” said Jackson.
“Due process has been followed and all staff who are willing to discuss this further can do so with us.”@yazkam