‘Sacked’ workers demand answers

Nkunzi chairman Oscar Tokwana is still shocked with his members' dismissal from a job project by the Disability Workshop Development Enterprise.

The Nkunzi Organisation of Disabled People is demanding answers from the Disability Workshop Development Enterprise (DWDE) after five of its workers’ contracts were cancelled.

The DWDE is involved in disability employment support services. It creates awareness among employers about the employability of people with disabilities and gives people with disabilities exposure to job opportunities.

But the DWDE is almost guaranteed to get a hostile reception when it faces Nkunzi members at a meeting at the DWDE offices in Salt River tomorrow, Friday September 8.

Nkunzi members collect recyclables such as empty boxes and plastic bottles which they then swop for cash.

With that money they buy beads to make jewellery such as necklaces, earrings and bracelets and liquid soaps which they turn into dishwasher.

They then sell the jewellery and dishwasher.

This project is facilitated by the DWDE, and the disabled people get paid a stipend.

Nkuzi is now opposing what it calls the unfair dismissal of its members from the job project, which was meant to last until February next year, and it wants the members reinstated.

In response to Vukani’s questions earlier this week, DWDE’s Sinawe Pezi said that they were planning to have an open session which would include all the different stakeholders involved in this particular project.

“We currently await confirmation of attendance from the stakeholders and you are welcome to join the session. I will furnish you with the necessary information,” she said.

Nkunzi chairman Oscar Tokwana confirmed that the meeting would go on as scheduled. Mr Tokwana said he was shocked to learn that the DWDE had terminated its business with the group recently.

He said this followed several issues with the DWDE.

He said it had all started when they were informed that they needed to have 10 people and from that number one had to be an able-bodied person who would go up and down with the register.

In the number, five failed to register and the organisation asked to add others and their curriculum vitaes were sent through but nothing happened.

Mr Tokwana said they also had a challenge with the able-bodied person who felt the money was too little for her and resigned.

He said after that they had to work with five people and all seemed well but in August, the DWDE changed its mind and told them they had resigned in July already.

“I was shocked because we have been working and paid. Not only that, we had August register with us. This is just a way to frustrate us as disabled people,” he said.

Speaking at his Gugulethu home, he said he was still astonished at the sacking of his members.

The visibly angry Mr Tokwana said while the DWDE had always assured them that there were programmes in place to improve the lives of disabled people, the reverse was true.