LEFT IN THE LURCH

SHOCKED: Employees of Khukhula Cleaning Service ponder their future after the University of KwaZulu-Natal management terminated their contract. Pic: Thuli Dlamini. 02/03/2010. © Sowetan.
SHOCKED: Employees of Khukhula Cleaning Service ponder their future after the University of KwaZulu-Natal management terminated their contract. Pic: Thuli Dlamini. 02/03/2010. © Sowetan.

OVER 100 cleaners were left stranded when the University of KwaZulu-Natal management terminated their company's contract yesterday.

OVER 100 cleaners were left stranded when the University of KwaZulu-Natal management terminated their company's contract yesterday.

The workers were employed by Khukhula Cleaning Service - a black economic empowerment company - whose contract has not been renewed.

The company has been contracted to the university for the past eight years.

It's alleged that the tender was not advertised by the university, which has appointed a white-owned company, Super Care.

Khukhula employees were stunned when security guards told them that their contract had been cancelled and they were no longer allowed in the university premises.

Annoyed workers sat outside the main hall in drizzling rain under the watchful eye of university security.

Khethukuthula Bele said she was shocked.

"It's clear that we are losing our jobs because there is a new company which has started working.

"We never had any problem with the university and they never complained about our service but now we are kicked out like dogs," she said.

Tearful Bele said she earned R1200 a month, which made a huge difference to her family of five.

"My salary was the only source of income for my family and I was able to put bread on the table," she sobbed.

Tsepiso Qholosha said he was disappointed by the university's decision to expel a BEE company to make way for a white-owned company.

"We were told by security guards that our contract had been terminated and we should leave.

"Even our employer was not aware of this," he said.

Khukhula director Nombuso Ndumo said she was in the dark as to why the university had terminated her company's services.

"We are taking the matter to court because no proper procedure was followed.

"It's not about me but the poor people that had been working there. I will fight for them until the end," Ndumo said.

University spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said Khukhula's contract expired at the end of 2008 and they had been engaged on a month-to-month basis since then.

"As the university was not satisfied with Khukhula's performance, they were given a month's notice in January of the termination of their contract," Mbadi said.

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