Stats SA field workers face a ‘black Christmas’
HUNDREDS of irate enumerators temporarily employed as field workers by Statistics SA during last month’s census say they have not been paid and have been given the run-around.
To ease the process and avoid risks that come with cash or cheques, the census employees’ payments were to have been made on to reloadable prepaid cards.
But in some cases – 1 000 out of 150 000 nationally, according to Stats SA – the money has not been downloaded on to the cards. Angry field workers have been gathering at the Sta- tistics SA offices in central Cape Town for the past few weeks, anxiously waiting for their salaries.
Stats SA said all the payments should be completed by December 15.
Census workers were originally promised about R5 000 and their supervisors R7 000 by November 10.
Many complained that they had tried several times to get their money but had been unable to do so.
Several complained that they had risked their lives, going into dangerous suburbs and working hard to get census forms filled correctly and on time, only to be left in the lurch when payment was due.
“This is stressing me out. Christmas is upon us and I need that money,” Anele Wonda said.
Wonda, 24, said she had inadvertently blocked her pin code for the card Stats SA issued her and was forced to get another one.
“When they issued the new card, I was told that I’d be able to access the funds within 48 hours, but when I went to check again it said the cards were not activated.
“I want my money, I worked hard for it.”
Wesley Jacobs, 20, said after numerous trips to Stats SA’S offices in Cape Town, he had little hope of seeing his money before Christmas.
“This was my first real job. I had high hopes for it. But I’m still not clear what the reason is for the non-payment. Nobody can give us a straight answer. This week they said it would take a while.”
Another worker, who did not want to be named, said he was excited to get the job because he owed a lot of money.
“This money would have enabled me to pay my debt and still have a comfortable Christmas, but now it’s turning out to be a black Christmas for us.”
Noel van Breda, who worked as a supervisor until November 13, said he was one of the fortunate workers who had been paid on time.
“I received my R7 000 but many have not been as lucky. There are many supervisors, fieldworkers and listers who have not been paid.”
Stats SA’S communication manager, Trevor Oosterwyk, said KTS Technology Solutions, based in Midrand, was awarded the Census 2011 payment tender earlier this year. Only 1 000 of 150 000 Stats census workers around the country had not been paid.
Reasons included that some workers had not signed their documents on time, some had listed the wrong personal details, others had their money in their accounts but their cards had not been activated and some people had used their cards before the money was loaded.
Apologising for the delay, Oosterwyk said they would hold a press conference on Monday to explain the situation.
He said workers should call Stats SA’S call centre number on 0800 110 248 or SMS their details including their ID numbers and card numbers to his cellphone on 082 908 9104.