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Last modified: 09 Oct 2017
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No pay for workers at Sarah Baartman centre

05 October 2017
Derrick

Derrick "Rudi" Jaffon, Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen, worker Melikhaya Mbonda and Kouga Tourism Portfolio Councillor Frances Baxter at the distribution of food parcels last week.

Unrest is brewing at Hankey where workers at the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance have not been paid their salaries for the past two months.

The centre is being built by the national Department of Public Works on behalf of the Department of Arts and Culture.

Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality was requested by the Community Liaison Officer, Derrick “Rudi” Jaffon,  to assist the 38 local workers who had not received their wages for August or September from Lubbe Construction, the contractor who was appointed by Public Works to build the multimillion-rand centre.

"The contractor undertook to pay the workers before the end of September, but this did not happen,” Jaffon says. "They then promised to pay us on Wednesday this week, but this also didn’t happen.”

The municipality offered the affected workers a lifeline last week when the Mayor arranged for a donor to deliver food parcels to them.

"The workers depend on their salaries to put food on their families' tables and the past few weeks have been very tough on them," she said.

The food parcels, sponsored by a butchery from Humansdorp, were distributed to workers on Thursday while the municipality has also been trying to arrange with the Department of Social Development and Sassa to assist the workers with groceries until such a time as their outstanding monies are paid.

"The Kouga Council will do everything in our power to help the affected families and will continue to put pressure on the roleplayers. We have already requested intervention at a national level so as to allow Public Works to sort out the matter urgently.”

Jaffon said the workers were very grateful to the Mayor for coming to their assistance so speedily.

"We would also like to thank the project architect, Raymond Drake, for his unwavering support," he said.

According to the Department of Public Works, Lubbe Construction will be withdrawing from the project and another contractor appointed to complete the work. This process will, however, take several weeks to finalise.