Lesufi meets with department heads over employment contract debacle

29 June 2024 - 14:42
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Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi
Image: Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: SUPPLIED/FILE

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi convened a late-night meeting with directors-general and heads of departments (HODs) this week in the wake of confusion over employment contracts for his jobs-drive initiative.

This week, there was a clash in communication from the provincial government about the employment of thousands of expanded public works programme (EPWP) “green army” workers.

Lesufi on Wednesday shared a picture of a letter, signed under the name of acting head of the agriculture, rural development and environment department in Gauteng Khulekani Mase, informing EPWP employees their contracts were ending. 

He, however, said the workers remained employed and that he would iron matters out with department heads, whom he met on Thursday night.

Lesufi was adamant he had a plan for workers whose contracts had expired.

“At the end of the sixth administration we established a task team to take stock of all the contracts that were coming to an end. Since being elected as the premier in the seventh administration, a report was presented and adopted on how we would manage the contracts that are coming to an end,” he said.

The “green army” was launched last May under the EPWP and focused on waste management and food security in Gauteng as part of Lesufi's jobs drive. It employed more than 6,000 people.

Confusion and panic arose, with concern being expressed about the future of the Nasi iSpani programme, which offers internship opportunities across a wide range of fields, as people believed other workers would be affected.

Provincial government spokesperson Sizwe Palma dismissed speculation the employment initiative was coming to an end.

“Lesufi has noted with great concern claims circulating on social media that the Nasi iSpani mass recruitment programme has been discontinued. The claims result from a leaked internal circular informing them that their one-year contract ended in May 2024,” Palma said.

Lesufi attributed the confusion to the provincial government not having an executive a month after the recent elections as government of national unity talks continue.

“At this moment, there are no MECs. I am the only one. Hospitals need something, roads need to be fixed, and many other things. Education needs to be attended to. I’m very hopeful that before the end of next week we should have established government in our province and nationally.”


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