EFF statement on non-payment of salaries by South African Express
25 March 2020
The EFF notes the failure by SA Express to pay workers their salaries in the middle of a global pandemic. This is at a time when money is being injected into various sectors and programs to cushion workers from the impact of Coronavirus. We are aware that there is a deliberate and opportunistic programme by the Minister of Public Enterprises Jamnandas Gordhan to sell off our state assets when everyone is occupied with the Coronavirus, and failure to pay salaries is part of these shenanigans.
The suspension of operations, mainly due to government efforts to stop the spread of Coronavirus should not be used as a reason for not paying workers salaries. SA Express workers have families to feed, households to maintain and they are also responsible for their own wellbeing. They also have financial obligations to meet namely home loans, school fees, credit cards and vehicle finance repayments. Failure to pay these workers is deliberate attempt to make them homeless and place them in a situation wherein they will lose their possessions. This will be a result of recklessness by those running the entity, not their own doing.
At some point, Denel was in a similar position, and could not pay salaries to its workers. We were later told that Minister Jamnandas's intervention led to salaries being paid. Similarly, SA Express received money from Transnet in a bid to assist the ailing airline, clearly Jamnandas has no direction because despite this progressive intervention from a sister SOE, he didn't manage to stabilize the entity. We therefore call for the same measures that have been put in place for other state-owned entities to be put in place for SA Express so that workers receive their salaries on time.
Failure by government to put the necessary measures in place to protect workers from the pandemic will send a message to the business community that you can abandon your obligations without consequences, and workers must suffer.
We reject this, and call on Labour to rally behind SA Express workers to ensure that they receive their salaries on time. Workers from all sectors must unite to fight the exploitation and dehumanization of SA Express workers. We want to send a strong message to Jamnandas that just because the country is dealing with the Coronavirus crisis, doesn't mean we will just stand by and watch him loot state assets. We reiterate our call that Jamnandas must stop with his shenanigans and pay SA Express workers their salaries.
Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 25 March 2020