Staff, em­ployer in wran­gle over vic­tim­i­sa­tion, fake doc­u­ments

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - ROLAND MPOFU

FOR­EIGN­ERS em­ployed at a BP petrol sta­tion in Braam­fontein, Joburg, have ac­cused their em­ployer of vic­tim­i­sa­tion and col­lud­ing with Home Af­fairs of­fi­cials to have them fired, but he has poured scorn on the al­le­ga­tions.

The seven work­ers have ac­cused their man­ager Richardo Vieira of cor­rup­tion, as­sault and un­fair labour prac­tices af­ter they were fired on what they say are trumped-up charges.

Nom­pumelelo Ku­malo al­leged that she was fired three weeks ago af­ter she opened a case of as­sault against Vieira. Ku­malo said she was in the toi­let when Vieira barged in and threw her out.

“I asked him why he man­han­dled me like a dog. He said he wanted to pee. He went ahead and threw me out say­ing he would fire me if I opened a case,” she said.

Ku­malo said she was ac­cused of steal­ing money and fired af­ter she opened a case. “I never stole the money. A cus­tomer mis­tak­enly left the garage without pay­ing. He came back later to apol­o­gise and paid the full amount,” said a tear­ful Ku­malo.

Hill­brow po­lice sta­tion spokesper­son Sergeant Mduduzi Zondi con­firmed a case of as­sault was opened.

Welma Nkanyani said she was un­fairly dis­missed be­cause busi­ness in­spec­tors found the toi­lets dirty.

“I told them Vieira ex­pected me to serve 30 cars per day and be a cleaner. And I was not paid for be­ing a petrol at­ten­dant,” said Nkanyani.

Bizwas Issa al­leged the em­ploy­ees were fired when they asked about ben­e­fits. They wanted to be com­pen­sated for an­nual leave and en­quired about UIF, which they said was de­ducted from their salaries but not paid to the labour depart­ment, he al­leged.

“Vieira brought in some­one from Home Af­fairs who said our doc­u­ments were not in or­der. But even af­ter we told him that we used the same doc­u­ments to open bank ac­counts, he did not want to lis­ten. He took our doc­u­ments and that is how we got fired.

“We strongly be­lieve Vieira is work­ing with this of­fi­cial be­cause other for­eign­ers who do not have doc­u­ments were not fired. This of­fi­cial came with a list of peo­ple who were deemed prob­lem-mak­ers,” said Issa, who had been work­ing at the garage for eight years.

How­ever, the owner of the garage Marco Vieira, re­futed the claims. “Ku­malo was fired af­ter a hear­ing found her guilty of steal­ing R400 from the fore­court. The other staff mem­bers were not fired. An im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial found three of our staff mem­bers have il­le­gal doc­u­ments. The of­fi­cial also came to in­ter­view them about where they got their per­mits be­cause they are not reg­is­tered on the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem. He told me they needed to go to Pre­to­ria for fin­ger­prints and bring back print­outs.

Home Af­fairs and head of im­mi­gra­tion ser­vices in Johannesburg Atwell Hola con­firmed that a busi­ness in­spec­tion un­der Sec­tion 38 of the Im­mi­gra­tion Act was done and doc­u­ments given by the em­ployer had to be ver­i­fied and were found to fraud­u­lent.

“What we found was shock­ing be­cause those doc­u­ments were fraud­u­lently ob­tained,” said Hola.

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