Contractor faces protests over pay
A GROUP of disgruntled workers from an RDP housing project in Limpopo say they have been condemned to abject poverty because a politically well-connected contractor has on several occasions failed to pay them.
Scores of protesters picketed Steve Bosch's Sizani Build IT hardware at Ladana on the outskirts of Polokwane on Friday, demanding their long-overdue payments.
They claim they have worked for Raesetja Property Developers - trading as Sizani Build It - building RDP houses at Nobody village in the Mankweng area, but have not received their salaries since May.
One of the protesters, who spoke to Sowetan anonymously for fear of reprisals, said he recently could not bury his child because of he was penniless.
The frustrated man said: "He always promises to pay us, but on payday he will simply not pitch up."
On May 2, Bosch served Johnson Mathete with a notice of retrenchment at Sizani Build IT hardware.
Mathete, who was working as a mechanic, said he was fired for demanding his money.
In a letter to Mathete dated May 12, Bosch wrote: "It is with great regret that we have to issue you with this letter today, but after an extensive consultation and serious financial assessment, we have no other option but to issue you with this notice of retrenchment."
Mathete, who was dismissed with other workers, has since taken the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
One of Bosch's subcontractors, Emmanuel Nare of Emmanuel Roof Construction, says Bosch often fails to pay his subcontractors or pays them later than expected.
Bosch has also fired his brother, Tebogo, who was a foreman, and a storewoman, Linah Phoshoko, Nare said.
The two have also taken the contractor to the CCMA but, according to them, Bosch has never attended a hearing.
Bosch was awarded a lucrative tender by the provincial department of cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs to build 189 residential units at Seshego Hostel in 2010 for R41383115.60.
The 12-month project should have been completed on April 6 last year but, despite the contractor's failure to meet his deadline, he got a variation order amounting to R11655217.38, bringing the revised contract value to R53038332.38.
Over the past two financial years, the company has been awarded contracts of more than R100-million by the department, despite hundreds of abandoned RDP houses that cannot be fixed due to shoddy workmanship.
For several weeks, Bosch has failed to respond to requests for comment by e-mail or SMS.