No pay, no work say foreign court interpreters

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

The sit-in strike by foreign language court interpreters will continue if the Department of Justice does not pay them.

"They asked us to go back to work today [yesterday] because they need our services and promised to sort out our payments," said Claude Ntoko.

Interpreters from magistrates' courts in Johannesburg embarked on a sit-in strike that started on Wednesday, demanding unpaid salaries.

They say they have not been paid last month's salaries. "We decided to strike because the authorities do not take us seriously," Ntoko said.

He said he was running a business to supplement his meagre wage of R170 a day.

Ntoko's colleague Omari Kasongo, who interprets in French and West African languages, said they had raised their concerns with the department without success.

"How are we expected to pay our rents and our children's school fees if we are not paid on time?" he asked.

Department spokesman Malentswe Tsheole said: "These interpreters have not been paid because they were not registered on the Persal system in terms of the prescripts contained in the departmental financial information.

"They have completed the forms and the department is busy paying them."