KTC residents embroiled in work dispute

Mluleki Andries asks how they can be fired by someone who did not employ them.

Six residents from KTC who were among a group of 12 people employed to clean and collect rubbish in their community have been fired from their jobs, allegedly by a former community leader.

The livid and frustrated workers said that a certain community leader named Lucky Matthews had allegedly made it clear that as long he was still living in KTC they would never be employed. The workers had been employed by Mafu Enterprise company and signed their contracts at the beginning of this month.

The workers told Vukani that their names had been scratched out, indicating that they had been fired. They said two women, who they believe were part of the management of the company, told them that they were fired because Mr Matthews informed the company that they had worked before. And as a result, they were not eligible to work again.

They said this news left them shocked and puzzled.

Nomabali Maqana, who has been fired, said they were told that Mr Matthews said in a meeting that they should never be hired in any community project as long as he was still in charge.

Ms Maqana said they were puzzled that Mr Matthews claims to be a leader because according to their knowledge, their community had no leadership structure. She said the last time the area had leadership was in 2016 and since then no leaders had been elected.

Ms Maqana said she does not understand why they were fired and how a former community leader could fire them. She said it would have sounded better if they were fired by their ward councillor who is a leader in their community.

She said what hurts and angers them the most was that Mr Matthews had no authority to hire or fire people.

She pointed out that she had questioned their ward councillor Khaya Yozi and he was unable to provide her with reasons as to why they had been fired.

“Mr Matthews does not want us. He thinks he owns KTC and if he does not like you, he will make sure that you don’t work. We want our jobs back so that we can provide for our families. We were supposed to have a meeting with our councillor but he never attended the meeting. We have sent Khaya messages but he has never responded. How can we be fired by someone who did not employ us? How does he get the authority to fire us,” she said.

However, Lucky Matthews claims that he was the chairperson of development in the area and vehemently denied firing them.

He said when they conducted screening and verification processes in an effort to ensure that the people who had been employed met the criteria, they discovered that some had benefited from similar projects in the past.

He said some of these workers were former community leaders and were all aware of the employment procedures.

“I never fired them but they were told that they should step down. If you had been employed before you can’t work again – you need to give other people a chance,” he said.

Another worker, Mluleki Andries, said they will never be fired by someone who is not a leader and vowed to fight for their jobs.

Ward councillor Khaya Yozi said he had informed one of the workers that they were not eligible to be employed as they had been employed before.

He said the procedure is that if one had worked they can’t work again and must give other people a chance.