Doreen Mokgolo
2 minute read
22 Feb 2017
12:59 pm

Angry Ekurhuleni residents demand jobs, burn post office

Doreen Mokgolo

The residents are raising their dissatisfaction over the recruitment patterns at the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium

Picture: Neil McCartney.

Angry residents blocked roads, burned tyres, burned the Duduza Multipurpose Centre in Ekurhuleni and closed schools and the post office during protest.

The residents are raising their dissatisfaction over the recruitment patterns at the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium, Springs Advertiser reported.

Gibela is currently building a R1-billion train-manufacturing facility at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni.

The company has a contract from Prasa for the construction of 600 new commuter trains for Metrorail over the next 10 years.

The new manufacturing facility will employ 1 500 people full time once it is fully operational.

But the angry residents allege that the company has hired people from outside Duduza and is not prioritising locals.

One angry resident, Mxolisi Mdebele, said there were many unemployed people in Duduza.

“The company promised us during a community meeting that we will be recruited, but now we see people who come from as far as Bloemfontein and Free State being employed,” he said.

Mdebele said they would continue with the protest until their grievances were attended to.

“No one is going to be allowed on site. They won’t be allowed to continue with work,” he added.

In a statement released by the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium on Monday, Pamela Radebe said the community unrest is being fuelled by the dissemination of misinformation regarding the company’s recruitment practices.

“In terms of its contractual obligations to Prasa, Gibela and its contractors are required to prioritise historically disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs) nationally for jobs, training and the supply of goods and services,” she says.

Radebe said the community representatives allege they are recruiting foreign-owned companies as suppliers, to the exclusion of HDSA-owned companies.

“This is not the case, and it has been communicated extensively during the public participation process over the past two years.

“At the request of the community representatives, Gibela last week appointed two community liaison officers selected by the community,” she said.

Radebe added the contractors working on the construction of the manufacturing facility have created 680 jobs since the start of the project in 2016.

“Sixty-six percent of these positions are filled by Ekurhuleni residents. While some jobs were temporary, some 450 people are currently working on site, 71% of them for Ekurhuleni.”

“Of these, 210 are from the immediate vicinity of the site, 64 of whom are from Duduza,” she said.

– Caxton News Service

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