News / South Africa / Local News

Jantji Ngwenyama
4 minute read
23 Mar 2018
10:46 am

Tembisa residents protest against employment of foreigners

Jantji Ngwenyama

Cochrane Steel will only communicate to the community through the ward councillor.

Tembisa residents want to work in adjacent Lord View industrial park.

The Tembisa community protested against the employment of foreigners and Tembisa nonresidents at Lords View industrial park on March 19, Tembisan reports.

Scores of unemployed people took part in a protest at Lords View, situated next to Tembisa.

READ MORE: Residents speak out on problems plaguing Tembisa Hospital

The community requested a meeting with Lords View industrial park management.

Tembisan journalist Jantji Ngwenyama was kicked out of that meeting, despite being delegated by the aggrieved community to be part of the meeting.

Community leader Themba Mhlanga said the land on which Lords View industrial park is built falls under Tembisa wards and should benefit Tembisa residents.

He said on Thursday March 15 that the community had asked councillors of wards surrounding Lords View to come and have a meeting with the community about the issue.

“Councillors said they don’t care about our concerns.

“The issue here is that since 2011, when Lords View industrial park was under construction, we never got any positive information from our councillors.

Tembisa residents protest against unemployment.

Tembisa residents protest against unemployment.

“They are the ones who have access to the employers at Lords View industrial park but they have never told us when and how the companies at the Lords View are hiring employees.

“The only thing we see is structures being erected and people are working.

“When we do our own investigations, we discover that these companies have employed foreigners and Tembisa residents are not employed at Lords View.

“Foreigners and people from Soweto and Alexandra are working there,” said Mhlanga.

He said the reason they wanted to have a meeting with the councillors of Ward 110, Ward 32, Ward 13 and Ward 12 was to recall them from being community representatives in meetings held with Lords View industrial park management because Lords View industrial park’s inception councillors have never given the community any feedback on the issue of employment.

“We cannot sit back while we have information that some of the companies are not willing to employ Tembisa residents and councillors are withholding the information as to which companies have open vacancies.

“The companies have communicated this in writing and today we are here to protest, mainly against Cochrane Steel Products (Pty) Ltd, which has employed more than 80 per cent foreign nationals.

“Cochrane Steel’s management is not willing to talk to us because they say they don’t recognise us,” said the unemployed Mhlanga.

Tembisa residents protest outside Lords View industrial park.

Tembisa residents protest outside Lords View industrial park.

Mhlanga said that, since Cochrane Steel is not willing to talk to the leaders of the unemployed residents, the community will continue with the strike and ensure that Lords View industrial park shuts down until companies in Lords View employ Tembisa residents.

Cochrane Steel Products CEO Bruce Cochrane refuted the allegations that more than 80 percent of Cochrane Steel employees are foreign nationals.

When asked why Cochrane Steel is refusing to meet and speak to the community leaders, he said the same community broke into Cochrane Steel factory in Lords View and traumatised his employees.

“We will not talk to them unless they bring us the people who broke in the factory and traumatised our employees.

“There’s no way we can deal with a violent group,” said Cochrane.

He said Cochrane Steel will only communicate to the community through the recognised community representative, Ward 12 councillor Simon Kwili.

Unemployed Babalo Sehlaba said as a youth from Ward 12, he has the right to benefit from employment opportunities in Lords View industrial park.

“This Lords View industrial park falls under Ward 12, but here there are people from outside and we are sitting in the township not working.

“Youth must stand up and fight to benefit.

“There should be a shutdown for Lords View industrial park until Tembisa’s unemployed people get employed in the industrial park,” Sehlaba explained.

The community is hellbent on seeing Cochrane Steel Products leave the Lords View industrial park if it doesn’t want to comply with the community’s demands.

Lords View industrial park’s management refused to comment on the protest matter.

Residents speak out on problems plaguing Tembisa Hospital

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