Stats SA field work­ers face a ‘black Christ­mas’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WARDA MEYER

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.

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