Niehaus, who will lead the workers on Wednesday, was fired from the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters after being accused of bringing the party into disrepute for threatening to lay charges against the party’s top brass.
He told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that he was well within his rights as a whistle-blower to lay complaints against what he called criminality.
“I can say I’m convinced that there is absolutely no question that we’ve got a case and that we have a responsibility as staff to raise this matter,” Niehaus said.
“In fact, in terms of the law, it is expected of us if we believe that there is criminal conduct that we should lay charges and bring it to the attention of the authorities. In this instance ANC staff members have a responsibility to be whistle-blowers.”
He said his axing from the sixth floor of Luthuli House — the office of the suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule — was an act of intimidation aimed especially at other aggrieved employees who had intentions of joining him in laying criminal charges.
“It is also illegal to fire or to take intimidatory action against employees who are whistle-blowers, which is exactly what happened with me. I had indicated my intention to raise this and to whistle-blow on it and from the evening that statement went out by the next afternoon 5 o’clock I was already fired. I was given two-and-a-half hours to respond to the letter that they said they want to fire me and it took them exactly 45 minutes after I wrote my response to fire me,” Niehaus said.
Niehaus was fired on Thursday last week and told to collect his belongings the following day by 11am from security at Luthuli House. He did not collect his belongings as he believes he will soon be reinstated as he intends to fight his axing.
The party has not paid its workers for two consecutive months as it struggles to raise money from funders.
Indications are that some staffers received one month’s worth of their salaries on Friday but not all employees have been paid.
There is also still an additional month’s worth of salaries outstanding. They were told that the remaining staffers would receive their salaries by Tuesday at the latest but they had no been paid by the time of writing.