Construction company unfairly dismissed two Zimbabwean workers

Left: Kudakwashe Watura and Wilson Jona. Pic by Bernard Chiguvare
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Wilson Jona and Kudakwashe Watura, both Zimbabwean lost their jobs as labourers at a construction company in Paarl after they had asked for the overtime money.

Responding to the questions from Elitsha, Dereck Daniels, owner of Daniels Betonwerke construction company confirmed that he had employed the guys and that he no longer would like to engage the two since their case was addressed by Building Industry Bargaining Council (BIBC).

“The guys had no permits so I sent them away. They lost the case to BIBC so I no longer want to entertain them,” says Daniels quickly stopping the conversation and denying to answer questions about the overtime payment

“We had worked for one year two months at this company. Our daily working hours were supposed to be 9 hours but that was not the case most of the time. Instead most days we worked from 08h00 to 21h00,” said Watura claiming that the company did not provide any transport home though it was unsafe to travel that time.

Nine of them approached Daniels asking for their overtime money and according to them this caused them to lose their jobs.

“One day Daniels asked the nine of us to work at a construction site that required permits and this is how he managed to lay us off. What is surprising is after a few days he called back five of us and reinstated them,” says Jona.

The two are registered members of the (BIBC). They refered their case to BIBC. According to Jona at BIBC they were refered from one office to the other and later were referred to the Department of Labour.

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After reaching stalemate with BIBC Daniels drafted a letter requesting home affairs to assist them with permits. They were asked each to pay R50 for printing the letter.

Copy of the letter drafted by employer, each paid R50 for printing the letter.

“This was his final nail. We could not go to Home Affairs because we knew it would be very difficult to get the permits. If then he could give us our benefits we are prepared to go back to Zimbabwe and try to apply for work permits while there,” says Jona.

According to Jona the other two decided to stop persuing the case because they were afraid they could face deportation at anytime.

Meanwhile The Department of Labour has promised to assign an inspector once they get all details of the case.

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About Bernard Chiguvare 12 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.