Johannesburg - With just a few months to go before the end of the year, DA staff members are facing a bleak Christmas following the party’s poor performance in the elections earlier this year.
This emerged after the party notified scores of employees this week that they should not expect bonuses this year.
This takes place against the backdrop of the DA undergoing an organisational review by a panel after its poor showing in the elections.
It follows reports that the ANC was to retrench more than 120 employees and also close some constituency offices after it lost parliamentary seats.
On Tuesday, DA chief executive officer Paul Boughey sent out a memorandum notifying employees of the non-payment of bonuses and changes to performance assessments.
“Following a very difficult election period, the party is regrettably not in a position to pay bonuses this year. We will, however, have an extended ex gratia period in lieu of this,” Boughey wrote.
Boughey also said there would be no performance assessments this year. A new performance management system would be introduced next year, he said.
“It will consist of three separate phases that will be rolled out at various stages over a 12-month period. HR (human resources) will set out more detailed information in due course.”
The authenticity of the memorandum was confirmed by DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi, who said: “I can confirm the letter is legitimate.”
Party insiders said the non-payment of bonuses came as no surprise given the poor showing of the party in the elections.
The DA obtained 173 public representatives in Parliament and provincial legislatures, down from 180 in the previous term.
Some employees claimed to be unaware of the memorandum, but a former DA employee said that the party normally conducted performance assessments at this time of the year before payment of bonuses in November.
The source said the writing was on the wall for employees after they were told after the elections that the number of staff would be cut down.
“That is an obvious explanation. We lost some seats and therefore we could not continue to pay some people. They had to start from people who are on contract,” the former employee said, adding that many contract staff had already left.
According to the former employee, they were also told that there would be a restructuring process over two years.
“I don’t know what form it will take, but if you leave your job, they will not fill it.”
Malatsi said the DA was in a difficult position, bearing in mind the financial situation in the country.
“We did not obtain as many seats as we had hoped for. Consequently, this has affected other areas such as the well-established tradition of bonuses,” he said.
Malatsi said everyone in the organisation understood the situation they found themselves in.
Following the election, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced in June that the party’s federal council welcomed his decision to initiate a review of the DA’s systems, structure and policies.
“I am confident this review will successfully perform an honest and frank introspection of where the DA is and where the DA needs to go. We will come out stronger and more resilient than ever before,” he said.