Permanent employment for South Africa EPWP workers Now!

South Africa's union federations recently rejected the government's 5% increase in the national minimum wage (NMW) and instead called for it to be increased to 12.5%.

PSI stands in solidarity with its affiliate NUPSAW in support of better working conditions for Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers suffering injustice at the hands of employers. NUPSAW of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) will embark on a night vigil and deliver memorandums to the Department of Infrastructure Development, National Treasury, National Department of Health then proceed to the Office of the President (Union Building) from 12-13 February 2020.

There are more than 5000 EPWP “participants”, as the employer classifies them, in Gauteng working across various municipalities and provincial departments within South Africa. Many of these workers have been employed as EPWP’s since 2013.The EPWP’s have been denied the rights to be permanently employed by the Government and excluded from the Labour Relations Act. The Government of the ANC through its neo-liberal agenda introduced the EPWP programmes to enslave workers and to enrich themselves and their cronies.

For example, EPWP’s are placed in school, clinics, hospitals, parks, road maintenance etc. We have seen these workers being exploited over the years by the government. The government is paying the EPWP’s apartheid wage of R11.00 per hour. We have CHWs who are still classified by this government as abnormal appointees earning a stipend of R3500 while performing essential services. All these workers have been enslaved for years and carried the burden without being appreciated.

NUPSAW has on numerous occasions tried to get the attention and position of the National Department of Health, Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Infrastructure Development with regards to the implementation of Resolution 1 of 2018 of PHSDSBC, DPSA salary level 5 for CHWs and the integration of all EPWP in the country including Working on Fire.

NUPSAW will be demanding the following:

  • The government to provide a living wage and decent terms and conditions of employment for the EPWP’s and CHWs

  • Permanent employment for the EPWP workers on a salary level 5

  • The return to work clause in resolution 1 of 2008 of PHSDSBC be implemented to all CHWs who were dismissed due to tender-preneur corruption.

  • The removal of the newly appointed Chief of Staff, Sibusisiwe Zulu at the Dept. of Health as she is highly implicated in corruption at Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for misappropriation of funds involving billions of rands.

  • Abolish the exploitive sectoral determination for EPWP

EPWP workers have been denied the rights to be permanently employed by the Government and excluded from the Labour Relations Act. Marching workers will hold an all-night vigil through the next day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

PSI and NUPSAW call for an end to an abusive regime now, and the abolishment of laws that impede the rights of workers earning an honest living by putting others first. Permanent employment Now!