Enraged workers protest over corruption claims

PEOPLE were turned away at the motor transport services directorate in KwaZulu-Natal as infuriated National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union members went on strike yesterday.

Gates were locked and Nehawu members demanded that head of department of transport Chris Hlabisa be axed.

Carrying placards and singing, workers marched from the MTS directorate to the department's head office.

The strikers stormed the offices demanding that all the other workers join them. They forced the gates open to release their colleagues who had been locked in by management.

The union had been at loggerheads with Hlabisa over allegations of corruption in the department since last year.

They claim that Hlabisa failed them because they became the victims of the allegation of fraud and corruption in the department.

It is alleged that the department's MTS directorate had lost more than R100million in illegal transactions.

Nehawu branch secretary S'khumbuzo Mdlalose said Hlabisa had turned a blind eye allegations of fraud in the department for a long time.

"He failed to address the concerns of the workers and people were also being victimised," he said.

Mdlalose said workers would not return to work until their concerns had been addressed.

He said they had met with Hlabisa and former MEC Bheki Cele over the issue of fraud in the department but could not find a solution.

"We are pleased with new MEC Willies Mchunu for his commitment to addressing our concerns," he said.

Mchunu said before the strike action Nehawu had sent a list of grievances to his office.

"We can confirm that such a memorandum, detailing the list of grievances, was indeed received.

"I have sought legal advice on the matters raised to institute an independent investigation process into the workers' grievances," he said.

Mchunu said Hlabisa remained in his post since he was not the subject of investigation.