CCMA orders EFF to pay former staff
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.”