Lesufi faces backlash over ‘Amapanyaza contracts’ end

Members of the Gauteng Crime Prevention better known as “AmaPanyaza”. l ITUMELENG ENGLISH/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Members of the Gauteng Crime Prevention better known as “AmaPanyaza”. l ITUMELENG ENGLISH/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Published Jun 27, 2024


Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi is receiving a backlash after an internal circular reminding all Green Army participants about the expiry of their contracts on May 31.

When the “Green Army EPWP” was launched with much fanfare by Lesufi, the EFF said it was a cynical and unsustainable election gimmick.

Millions of South Africans voted in the general elections that took place on May 29 where no political party emerged victorious. Many believed that a number of people voted for the ANC after it promised to create more jobs as the country battled with a high rate of unemployment.

The letter, signed by acting head of Department Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Khululekile Maso, reads: “This communique serves to remind you regarding the contractual agreement that came to an end on 31 May 2024.

“Furthermore, you are informed that you will receive payment for the days worked during the month of June 2024. Please note that there will be a delay regarding the payment of stipends for the month of June, due to the administrative and systemic processes, that have to be followed after the contractual agreement came to an end on 31 May 2024. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause.”

Lesufi on Wednesday denied approving the letter dated June 26, 2024, which went viral on social media platforms, including X.

“Someone is too excited. This letter was written without my consent or approval. The intentions are clear to undermine the authority of the 7th administration. This will not be allowed!” wrote Lesufi on X.

He also said there was a confusion about the Green Army and the Gauteng Traffic Wardens.

“Going nowhere! There’s confusion about the EPWP green army contracts and the continued employment of the Gauteng Traffic Wardens. The EPWP green army are mandated to clean our environment and waste removal, while the Gauteng Traffic Warden are protecting us against crime,” wrote Lesufi.


Political parties and ordinary South Africans are roasting Lesufi, accusing him and the ANC of a “cynical” election campaign just to get the votes from desperate unemployed citizens.

EFF MP Carl Niehaus said one did not know what to believe anymore.

“Mxm, misunderstanding? Honestly, one does not know what to believe anymore. How do letters just get written without authorisation?? One honestly does not know what to believe from the ANC anymore! It just plays with people and their emotions,” said Niehaus.

ActionSA said it was not surprised to learn about the collapse of Lesufi’s ‘Nasi iSpan’i job gimmick, immediately two days after the elections.

ActionSA Gauteng provincial caucus leader, Funzi Ngobeni, said this was despite the premier promising participants at Dobsonville Stadium that “he is going to make them beautiful”.

Lesufi promised participants that he would add more months to their contracts if they did their work, which is cleaning townships, informal settlements and hostels.

Ngobeni said since inception, ActionSA had repeatedly warned the premier not to use the desperation of millions of young people for his selfish political ambitions.


He said instead, Lesufi doubled down on his gimmicks with the introduction of new employment schemes like Aga le Rona Road Workers and Sawbona Mhlali, to name just a few.

“It has become evident that these mass employment schemes were not created with the genuine intention of creating jobs but were the ANC's electioneering tactics. In a country with an over 60% youth unemployment rate, it is disheartening to see politicians playing fast and loose with the livelihoods of young people,” said Ngobeni.

He further said: “ActionSA believes the work that the Green Army is doing is not a project that must come to an end. It is work that should continue, and therefore, instead of terminating their contract, the province must consider employing them permanently.”

Ngobeni said through ActionSA’s three members of the provincial legislature in Gauteng, they will prioritise advocating for the insourcing and absorption of frontline workers like the Green Army, securities, and cleaners.

“Our mandate is to fight to end the exploitation of these workers and to ensure that their dignity is restored,” Ngobeni said.

Lesufi’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, acknowledged receiving a media query from The Star and said they are working on a response.

The Star

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