DEBATE ON EFF MOTION

 

BY

HON OB KUNENE MPL,

KZN LEGISLATURE, 24 OCTOBER 2019

The Hon Speaker,

The Leader of the Official Opposition who is also the President of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

The IFP does not call for the total ban of labour brokers for labour brokers provide a service in the marketplace. But the IFP is totally opposed to the exploitative practises by certain labour brokers if not all of them. The IFP therefore calls upon the government to put in place regulatory measures which will ensure that labour brokers do not exploit workers. Such regulatory measures should be strictly monitored by government to ensure that workers are not exploited by unscrupulous business people and that stiff penalties should be put in place to ensure that such practices do not occur.

Labour brokers provide a temporary service and enable employers to quickly get workers who require to perform a service. This is required for the optimal economic performance of South Africa’s economy because output demands in various industries fluctuate and employment levels are necessarily changeable. Infact the IFP has always advocated for greater flexibility in the marketplace. Of utmost importance is the necessity to ensure that employees hired through labour brokers enjoy the same rights and protections as those hired directly by employers.

The IFP believes therefore that there is an urgent need for greater and more effective regulation of labour brokers. There must be a legal avenue to hold operations of labour brokers who operate outside the law.

The IFP is of the view that those who provide temporary employment service should register with the Department of Employment and Labour, that they should sign a code of conduct and provide regular reports to the department which must be audited. The clients who engage the services of the labour brokers should be held accountable in the strictest terms for the protection of the rights of those employees brought to them by labour brokers and that they must comply with labour law.

It is unacceptable that the employee can be employed through a labour broker for a period of more than one year worse of all in some cases there are some employees who work for an employer for 10 years having been seconded by the labour broker. This is exploitation of the highest order. This is scandalous because such employees do not enjoy the benefits like medical aid and pension benefits.

It is shocking that the KZN Legislature, and some other departments have not employed security guards, cleaners and some workers directly but they still work for labour brokers. It is difficult to understand why some workers are still employed on a contract basis for more than 10 years. The Legislature and OTP should lead by an example in this regard.

We are informed that contracts of IT staff in the KZN Legislature come to an end at the end of this month. This is because they were employed by a service provider that is benefiting at their expense. We want to know from the Hon Speaker why the Legislature IT Department does not employ full-time IT staff instead of using service providers who are getting millions while paying staff peanuts? The Legislature has a budget to employ staff, therefore we call upon the Hon Speaker to ensure that IT staff are employed permanently.

SECURITY OFFICERS AND CLEANERS

Security guards render an essential but they remain exploited. Security companies make a lot of money but pay their workers very poor salaries. During the SCOPA Hearings last week we heard that Department of Agriculture keeps giving certain individual contracts that some of the internal staff members benefit from. Hon Speaker as we speak, we are informed that security officers and cleaners are working for certain companies that are benefiting from tenders awarded by this Legislature. The IFP would like to know why the Legislature doesn’t not employ its own security officers and cleaners? After the implementation of the National Minimum Wage Act, the Department of Employment and Labour issued a directive to the private security sector to pay security officers accordingly.

We hope that the Legislature will monitor and ensure that the security company and the company that renders cleaning services to the Legislature pay their staff accordingly.

The IFP calls upon all government departments to screen security companies tendering for contracts, to make sure that they treat and pay their workers well.

EXPANDED PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAMME

The IFP is aware that the Expanded Public Works Programme remains an effective way of the government’s response to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The EPWP programme is making a real difference to people’s lives.

The EPWP programme is not enough to meet the expense of participants in this programme who live in abject poverty. We propose that the stipend be increased to take into account the inflation rate and the increase in the prices of basic food stuff. We believe that people who participate in the EPWP programme must be empowered to start their own businesses. By doing so, this will assist in creating more job opportunities. Again, people should also be employed directly and permanently by municipalities with benefits as this will go a long way in addressing the unemployment challenge facing our country.

The IFP further proposes that people living on the streets in urban areas and in our cities must gain access to job opportunities through the EPWP. This will help reduce the number of street beggars. The EPWP is the one way of assisting the homeless people.

EPWP, under the Working on Water Programme, Working for Wetlands and Working on Fire, are well managed and monitored.

These programmes have proven that they can provide quantifiable benefits to water security, biodiversity preservation, sustainable energy provision, and most importantly to the intended beneficiaries.

In conclusion

We wish to caution that the plight of the unemployed and the downtrodden should not the exploited by unscrupulous individuals for their own ends. Programmes designed to alleviate poverty should be spread widely to reach all those who are facing poverty challenges.

The plight of the poor should not be exploited by any political party to fulfil narrow political ends. The IFP fully understands the plight of the poorest of the poor and calls upon all involved to treat the marginalised in our society with the dignity they deserve as citizens of our country.

I thank you