Menzi Primary construction re-started

Striking workers sit outside Menzi Primary School

The news of the construction of the new school was more than welcomed by the community in 2015.

Learners at Menzi Primary School have been using zinc shelters and other temporary structures as classrooms since the 1990s.

Not only will the project leave the learners with a environment they can thrive in, but it has also given many of the residents an opportunity for employment and skills development.

• Read: A new primary school for Langaville

But the project has met with its fair share of challenges.

After months of alleged unfulfilled promises by the principal contractors, on March 13 the workers and sub-contractors eventually went on strike.

“We want to be taken seriously by the main contractor. That is who we want to speak to directly,” said Sicelo Masango, a sub-contractor.

He went on to explain that one of the biggest problems, among others, was late payment.

Another sub-contractor, Castro Ngubane, shared the same sentiment, adding, “how do I pay my workers’ wages if I don’t get paid?

“People almost burnt down my house because I owed them.”

The two sub-contractors alleged that some of the workers had not been paid since last year.

James Qashani, who has been working on the project as a safety officer, added that their contracts seemed to change every time there was a new project manager.

“And we have had seven different project managers – imagine!” said a third sub-contractor, Thomas Nkuna.

• Also read: Parents demand a better school

However, after much deliberation during a meeting with the principal contractor and sub-contractors, the workers were able to reach an agreement with the principal contractor.

Khosi Gwayana, councillor of ward 81, who was also in the meeting, explained that some of the requests of the workers could not be met.

“In the end they (the workers) understood. They were satisfied with the resolution by the time they left.”

“The project is behind. We don’t need any more stoppages,” she added.

The workers went back to work the day after the meeting.

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