A fake SMS promising city residents jobs caused more than 4 000 people to show up on Tuesday at the Akasia Community Hall, north of Pretoria, with the hope of being employed by the end of the day.
Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga was also at the centre, to conduct a public Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) lottery and select more beneficiaries for work opportunities in various projects across the city.
The lottery will only select 1 250 beneficiaries, who are all registered on the EPWP.
Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga said they only sent out an SMS to everybody who had registered, but did not say people should come to the hall.
“We called on councillors to come and see that the system was not rigged in any way as part of our transparency. But there was this SMS that was sent out to people afterwards telling them to get transport and come here to get employed.
“Unfortunately we only have 1 250 work opportunities, plus eight wards that are now doing project-based employment. We are in totality looking at 1300 jobs,” Msimanga said.
People from all over Pretoria, including Soshanguve, GaRankuwa and Mabopane, arrived in private and public transport since early morning and, by 3pm on Tuesday afternoon more people were still arriving at the venue.
One woman said they received an SMS yesterday that they should be present at the Akasia Community Hall to get a job.
“They said only if you are present will you be awarded a contract.”
Mayoral spokesperson Sam Mgobozi said the use of this fake SMS was disgusting. He implied that it was a stunt to discredit the DA by another political party.
“How can any political party abuse their people in such a way, ignoring their feelings and emotions?
“It is one thing to use people for protest actions, but it is another thing falsely promising them employment, even if you hate the DA,” Mgobozi said.
People were later singing struggle songs outside the hall where Msimanga had addressed those inside the hall.