The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Northern Cape is very upset and annoyed by the inhuman behaviour displayed by ESKOM. The matter at hand is the eviction of employees from company houses by their employer ESKOM.
In 2009 our members were transferred to Kathu, it was because of the mines complaining about turn around time as employees were working from Postmasburg. Kathu CNC was a satellite before and was officially opened and converted to CNC in 2009.
At that moment Eskom had one house in Kathu which was occupied by the old man who was on the verge of retiring when he left Eskom then the house was occupied by another employee as per housing practice note.
The housing practice note was developed in 2013 after the investigation from Eskom and realised that employees are in need of housing in Kathu. Ayanda Noah who was by that time the GE for Distribution had an engagement with the employees and gave instruction to NCOU management to consult the mines and municipality to see if there are other houses vacant that they can assist with or either buy land and build houses for Eskom employees to reside in those houses.
Eskom started to buy two houses in Bestwood Estate which is now changed to Lattakoo Estate, this brings a total of three Eskom owned houses in Kathu. Eskom then rented a privately owned house and subsidised the employees as per the housing practice note. At the later stage, Eskom could not pay according to the lease agreement and started to be in arrears until the private owners of those houses decided to terminate the contract with Eskom. Eskom started to send employees emails evicting them stating that what they were doing was not in line with treasury regulations, therefore they cannot continue with this agreement by assisting employees. Parallel to that, they wanted to phase out the housing practice note.
After eviction O&M manager decided to assist the Kathu employees for a period of time but that also was stopped. That's where one of our colleagues applied for a transfer to Kimberly and it was approved, the other employee applied from Kathu to Postmasburg, his application was approved.
The inconsistency arose where three employees were benefiting and the rest were not benefiting. One employee who was staying in Bestwood after being evicted tried to carry the rent on his shoulder by paying R8000,00 per month until he could not take it anymore. He is currently travelling 182km per day Kathu to Postmasburg because Eskom could no longer assist its Kathu and Kuruman employees as agreed.
In Kuruman there is a colleague who was also evicted, he was persuaded from Kimberly to station in Kuruman with a promise of being assisted with a house, he is currently travelling to Kimberly where his family is residing and in the morning he is driving back to Kuruman to work, all this management is aware of.
"We started to address this housing issue within the OU but no assistance, the matter was addressed with Monde Bala, he promised with his engagement with the OU in 2019 that he will see how he can assist since he left and no feedback was received from his office. The matter was addressed with Jan Oberholzer in 2019 in Upington, he seemed so convinced and willing to assist and even asked Kathu to send an email with burning issues regarding housing which we did, until today no solution," said Cornelius Manhe, NUM Kimberley Regional Secretary.
"Early 2020 just before lockdown, Andrie Deryter had an engagement with NCOU employees where the housing issue was raised by Kathu employees, he promised to look into the matter and will assist, until now no feedback. Last month employees at Kathu applied for a relocation because Eskom didn't want to help them with housing, all the applications were rejected. One colleague lodged a grievance because his transfer request was rejected, but even now it has fallen on the deaf ears of ESKOM Management," Manhe added.
For more information, please contact
Cornelius Manhe: NUM Kimberley Regional Secretary: 079 871 5514
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111