Contractor leaves workers in lurch for seven months

About 500 disgruntled workers at the construction site for 500 toilets in ward 9 of Tzaneen municipality in Limpopo claim they have not been paid since the project started seven months ago.

The workers said the contractor, Louis Malatji of Louis General Contractors of Phalaborwa, hired them to build 500 toilets in the Greater Tzaneen municipality in October last year.

They said they were promised R150 each for digging a toilet pit, which brings the amount owed to workers to R75000 to date.

Dapper Maphosho, the workers' spokesperson, said when they approached Malatji to demand their wages he allegedly told them to go and get their money from President Jacob Zuma.

Malatji also told this reporter that there's nothing anybody can do about this because he was friends with all the top people, including Premier Cassel Mathale.

Malatji is alleged to owe the project's staff about R30000, and close to R66000 to workers who have built some of the toilets.

Workers told Sowetan that the money for the whole project was paid to the contractor about three months ago by the Mopani district municipality, even before the work was completed.

"We are very frustrated with Malatji's behaviour because he does not want to listen or take our plight into consideration," said an angry worker.

Thibo Ralulimi, the Mopani district municipality's project manager, said he was not aware of the problem.

He confirmed that the contractor had been paid but said he was not aware of payments made to the workers.

"When we paid the contractor we assumed he would pay the workers who assisted him to make a fortune," he said.

But Ralulimi said he would investigate the matter to ensure that the workers were paid their wages.