CCMA or­ders EFF to pay for­mer staff

CityPress - - News - S’THEMBILE CELE and SU­SAN COM­RIE sthem­bile.cele@city­press.co.za and su­san.com­rie@city­press.co.za

The Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) has been told to pay up af­ter for­mer em­ploy­ees took their cases to the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion (CCMA) – and won.

In Mpumalanga, for­mer Eh­lanzeni ad­min­is­tra­tor Caleb Sibi­tane was awarded four months’ salary, which came to R40 000. Celi Nkam­bule, who worked in the same EFF of­fice as a field worker, was granted R25 000.

In the Free State, for­mer ad­min sec­re­tary Alima Thole says she has been granted R70 000 by the CCMA. In Gaut­eng, head of­fice em­ployee Sa­belo Mh­lungu says that he was also awarded R70 000.

Six other for­mer em­ploy­ees told City Press that they had also won their CCMA cases and were wait­ing for the com­pen­sa­tion fig­ures to be an­nounced.

In to­tal, the CCMA told City Press that it cur­rently had 15 cases on its roll where the EFF was the re­spon­dent. How­ever, it could not pro­vide de­tails.

De­spite the EFF sign­ing con­tracts with th­ese em­ploy­ees, the party has al­ways main­tained that they were vol­un­teers at the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It’s not a salary be­cause it’s vol­un­tary work,” party leader Julius Malema told City Press in Fe­bru­ary. “They are paid an al­lowance of R5 000, which is mainly for trans­port pur­poses, be­cause [they] are vol­un­tary.”

In April, sev­eral for­mer EFF mem­bers, in­clud­ing Sibi­tane and Nkam­bule, com­plained that they had been un­fairly dis­missed from their jobs.

At the time, the EFF ac­cused City Press of run­ning “a smear cam­paign aimed at dis­cred­it­ing the move­ment”. The EFF now says it will com­ply with the CCMA’s rul­ings. “The EFF lost some of th­ese cases and won some. We are a legal or­gan­i­sa­tion, which will be chal­lenged time and time again,” EFF spokesper­son Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi said this past week.

Ac­cord­ing to the EFF, there was an un­der­stand­ing with some em­ploy­ees, who also held po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions, that if they were voted out, they would for­feit their sta­tus as em­ploy­ees.

“Peo­ple with po­lit­i­cal-of­fice am­bi­tions who work in the EFF some­times use their pro­fes­sional po­si­tions to mo­bilise for po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions in the EFF. This re­sults in the em­ployer-em­ployee re­la­tion­ship fall­ing apart – even if they mo­bilise for oth­ers to be in of­fice. And in all of th­ese cases, it was be­cause of th­ese things.”

But speak­ing to City Press on Fri­day, Sibi­tane de­nied that such an agree­ment ex­isted. “If there was an un­der­stand­ing, it was only known by Julius and [EFF deputy pres­i­dent] Floyd [Shivambu]. If that was com­mu­ni­cated to us, none of us would have left our jobs,” he said.

The CCMA in­structed the EFF to pay both Sibi­tane and Nkam­bule be­fore the end of May, but nei­ther of them have been paid. The two say that they will now look at in­volv­ing the sher­iff’s of­fice to get their money – even if that means at­tach­ing fur­ni­ture and as­sets be­long­ing to the EFF.

Sa­belo Mh­lungu ap­proached the sher­iff’s of­fice af­ter he reached an agree­ment with the EFF to pay him, but has still not been paid.

Asked when the EFF was go­ing to pay Mh­lungu, Malema told City Press: “When we get money, we will pay him.”

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