The Merafong municipality failed to issue contracts to employees, but contracts are an important source of information about work conditions for employees who are also party to the contracts.
“…Contract of employment may be terminated by either party to the contract providing to the other party to the contract, 1 month written notice of intention to terminate, for any reason recognised in law as being sufficient.”, but workers are not in a position to terminate the contracts or realise when the contract is being violated because they do not have a copy in written format.
There is a dispute with regards to content of the contract in terms of clause 2.2 found in the contract.
The contract must be deemed illegal because the contract being performed by Merafong municipality violates the Labour Laws. It is an otherwise discouraging activity that others would deem offensive or wrong. We did not know the content of the contract when we signed, and we were not given our copies even when we requested them. We were forced to sign the contract or we loss the job. And because we were desperate and we did not have other choice and we did sign it without reading it, until we found out the clause 2.2 in the contract is in violation of the Chapter 4, section 30 and chapter 5, section 37, in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. And this is a hard won right which it cannot just be taken away from us by the municipality to achieve their own interest.
In terms of Sect 30 Chapter 4, the municipality is obligated to inform the employees of their rights and gives guidance about “Notice of termination of employment,” under Section 37, “but the municipality has taken away from us”, noted Godfrey, one of the EPWP workers. “This is wrong and we cannot allow the municipality to abuse and exploit us,” continued Godfrey.
Sect 30 Chapter 4, states that “Informing employees of their rights; and Section 37 “Notice of termination of employment,” which the municipality has taken away from us. This is wrong and we cannot allow the municipality to abuse and exploit us,” Zandi Ramba told a journalist of Karibu.
The Merafong municipality, in its capacity as an employer, is required by law (Basic Conditions of Employment Act – sect 29) to provide its employees with a written contract of employment not later than the first day of the commencement of employment. This section of the Act is being violated by the municipality. This law applies to each and every employer. “The municipality denied us our rights to access information that is in the contract. And the right to read the terms and conditions of the contract,” says Ramba.
Speaking about the municipality’s decision not to give EPWP workers contracts, Bongane Mbathane, EPWP leader said that “Failure to do so could land the municipality in jail for a term of imprisonment (sect 93 of Basic Conditions of Employment Act) or to liability for a hefty fine (Schedule 2 – BCEA)
or misconduct of the employee, or the operational requirements of the employer.”