Chiefs staff revolt over Xmas bonuses

Jessica Motaung, left, Kaizer Motaung and Kemiso Motaung during the PSL Player of the Year awards at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. / Veli Nhlapo
Jessica Motaung, left, Kaizer Motaung and Kemiso Motaung during the PSL Player of the Year awards at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. / Veli Nhlapo

This story has been amended to add an apology to Kaizer Chiefs, see below:

An annual increase and Christmas bonus rebellion at Kaizer Chiefs, which allegedly resulted in boss lady Jessica Motaung angrily wishing her father Kaizer Motaung could release her from her job, has erupted at the club's headquarters in Naturena.

The mutiny allegedly reached a fervent pitch last week when Jessica's sister Kemiso wrote a stinging e-mail to staff members telling them to hit the road if they were not happy with their jobs.

Her alleged rant resulted in staff morale reaching its lowest ebb.

It also led to some staff members contemplating to boycott the Christmas party at PH Network Cafe in Mondeor, south of Joburg, on Wednesday.

Attempts to solicit comment from the Motaungs drew a blank as they ignored our phone calls. Club spokesman Vina Maphosa asked for written questions on Wednesday. However, he failed to respond at the time of going to press.

Three independent sources, who didn't want to be named for fear of reprisal, confirmed that the staff at Naturena were unhappy for not receiving their salary increases.

They were supposed to have received them in July this year.

"They were supposed to have given them salary increases this year but they got nothing and Jessica, who is their boss, has said nothing about this matter," said the source.

"The staff is so afraid of her that no one is willing to openly protest against this."

The mole said the staff were also demoralised by Jessica's decision to force them to be members of a medical aid scheme which is one of their sponsors.

"When they told her that the medical aid was too expensive, she told them they have no option," said the tipster.

The deep throat said staff morale was also affected by Jessica's apparent decision not to give them bonuses.

"When they were employed they were told that the 13th cheque or December bonus is one of their benefits.

"In the past years they communicated to them in November how much they would get for their bonuses, but this year Jessica is not saying anything about it.

"They enquired from the finance staff who told them there would be no bonus this year," said the source.

This story has been amendment to add an apology to Kaizer Chiefs, see below:

The source said this angered employees, who questioned why the club didn't cancel the Christmas party and use its budget towards their bonuses.

Another source said the staff were also angered by Jessica embarking on a witch-hunt to sniff out employees who were considered to have leaked stories to the media.

"She also said she wished her father could release her and allow her to go work overseas.

"This was preceded by her sister Kemiso's e-mail which was sent to certain managers, whom she suspects were behind the leaks, and told them they were welcome to leave the club if they so wish," said the source.

Another source, who is a former employee at the club, said he heard from some of his former colleagues that they did not get their annual salary increases and that they might also not get paid their Christmas bonuses.

"The staff is demoralised. I feel for some of the the club's longest-serving employees.

"They have been loyal and don't deserve this treatment after working for the club with dedication and loyalty for so long," added the source. 

Apology

Sunday World apologises to both Kaizer Chiefs and Jessica Motaung for two stories published last year. In   the first story headlined “Bitter words over Shabba’s luxury car” it was reported that a “war” had broken out between the club’s marketing director Jessica Motaung and Shabba’s manager Jazzman Mahlakgane.

After their complaint, the press ombudsman Johan Retief found that we reported unfairly and without proper verification when we stated that an “acrimonious war” had broken out between the two.

The use of the word “war” was unfair in that it exaggerated the disagreements between the two parties.

On the second story, which was run on the front page with the headline “Chiefs Cash Crunch”, Retief found that the paper had not properly verified the allegations against Chiefs.

In the story, the paper reported that the club’s staff was unhappy because there was talk that they were not going to be paid their annual bonuses and were also not going to be given annual pay increments.

The ombud cautioned the paper for reporting on some of the allegations as fact without verifying the claims.

“As the statements of fact of a ‘bonus rebellion’ and a ‘mutiny’ at the club, without any verification, was in breach of the following sections of the code:

· “1.3: … Where a report is not based on facts or is founded on opinion, allegation, rumour or supposition, it shall be presented in such manner as to indicate this clearly.

· “1.8: The media shall seek the views of the subject of critical reportage in advance of publication…; and

· “1.1: “The media shall take care to report news … fairly.”

The ombud also directed the paper to apologise to Motaung for publishing allegations that she had embarked on a witch-hunt to sniff out whistleblowers without proper verification.

Among other complaints, Chiefs took umbrage when the paper referred to Motaung as “boss lady” but Retief dismissed that element.

“There is no finding on the general complaint of unbalanced reporting aimed at Jessica Motaung,” said Retief.

For the full ruling, visit www.presscouncil.org.za        

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