South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) is aghast that state-owned companies Transnet and Autopax are preventing workers from voting in tomorrow’s national election.
Starting yesterday morning, Transnet has released a flurry of letters all aimed at intimating workers from exercising their constitutional right. Reporting for work yesterday morning, workers at Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) were greeted by posts on notice boards informing them they are expected at work on 8 May, even though the head of state has declared it a public holiday. By midday today, two more letters, one from Acting Chief Human Resources Officer Sanet Vorster and TFR Acting General Manager: Human Capital Gayle Serema, were issued. Though more delicately crafted than the first, both reinforced the same message – miss work and go vote at your own peril.
Autopax has also issued a letter to the same effect. When workers queried this they were told to take annual leave. The absurdity is blatant.
The date of the election was announced on 7 February, exactly three months ago. The management of these SOEs had ample time to make arrangements and tweak their rosters so as to accommodate voting workers. Attempts to dress up the intimidation of workers in fancy statements such as, ‘respecting the right of every employee to vote’, is not lost on us. Preventing citizens from voting is unconstitutional.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a clarion call to those that qualify to vote to exercise their right at the polls tomorrow. SATAWU is shocked that state-owned companies are the ones leading this undemocratic programme.
We call on the incoming administration to make its first order of business to clean up the upper ranks of SOEs of managers that do not comply with the rule of law as it holds true that such managers also derail service delivery.
For more details and media interviews contact:
Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer, 011 403 2077
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