Interns voice gripes

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

Some interns in the Mpumalanga department of correctional services claim they are forced to make tea and clean floors.

The trainees, who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity, allege that they are not given any work related to their qualifications. Instead, senior managers send them to the shops, make them clean floors and serve tea.

"We feel ill-treated and dehumanised by the treatment we receive from our seniors," said one frustrated intern. The interns are contracted to receive training in several fields that include finance, communication and human resources.

Department spokesman Reuben Mvula, who said he was shocked by the allegations, dismissed the claims as "ludicrous".

"We had a meeting in January where we explained the interns' job descriptions to all our managers. The interns are here to get the experience relevant and necessary to their qualifications, and that is what is happening. There is no exploitation," said Mvula.

The interns also claimed that there was a delay in paying them. They blamed this delay on shoddy administration, an allegation that was also dismissed by Mvula.

Mvula said the department was concerned about the welfare and dignity of employees and as a result could not ill-treat them.

He said interns initially got their stipends at the end of the month. This arrangement was changed to the end of the week for administrative reasons. Head office had later ordered that the interns be paid at the end of month, but this week they claimed not to have been paid.

"The delay in payments this month has been explained to them, they will be paid soon," Mvula said.