A crowd comprising of community healthcare workers, early childhood development workers and members of the EPWP gather at the Union Buildings after a night vigil, calling on government to end the slavery of contract workers. Picture: James Mahlokwane
A crowd comprising of community healthcare workers, early childhood development workers and members of the EPWP gather at the Union Buildings after a night vigil, calling on government to end the slavery of contract workers. Picture: James Mahlokwane

WATCH: 1000 Tshwane workers demand permanent jobs after camping at the Union Buildings

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Feb 13, 2020

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Pretoria - More than 1000 angry and frustrated contract workers camped on the lawns of the Union Buildings on Wednesday night calling on spheres of government to end their exploitation.

The crowd was comprised of community healthcare workers, early childhood development workers and members of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) who've been doing work for government departments and municipalities for many years.

Leading the crowd was the general-secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) Zwelinzima Vavi and his counterpart in the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers, Success Mataitsane, who were eager to hear if President Cyril Ramaphosa would touch on this issue during his State of the Nation address. 

Vavi and Mataitsane said it made no sense that the South African government did not see anything wrong when these workers were paid little to nothing and kept on contracts while they did full-time work, which had no end date. 

A crowd comprising of community healthcare workers, early childhood development workers and members of the EPWP gather at the Union Buildings after a night vigil, calling on government to end the slavery of contract workers. Video: James Mahlokwane

They said it could be understood when people worked for a temporary period to build a road or two but when people clean clinics, teach grade R pupils, cleaned the streets or give communities healthcare, it made no sense to keep them on contracts. 

They described these jobs as work that does not end and as per the labour relations act, they said government should absorb these workers permanently.

Protester Deneo Maja said: "We are tired of the government treating us like options that do not really matter. 

"We want permanent jobs too because we do the same work that's done by the government cleaners in hospitals and clinics. 

"Why must we be on stipends when they get R8 000 a month and more benefits. 

We are tired of contracts and we want change."

Vavi said he was sure Ramaphosa would not touch on the issue in his State of the Nation address but the government should know that this fight will not stop. 

He said there'll be demonstrating all year long until the government acts and corrects this injustice.

Pretoria News

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