PRESS STATEMENT | LHR in court for employees unfairly dismissed by City of Tshwane

Date: 20/10/2022

Today, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is in the Labour Court, Braamfontein for the matter of Caroline Sunday & Others v the South African Local Government Bargaining Council & Others where LHR represents the applicants who are all former employees of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (the City of Tshwane). The applicants argue that they were permanently employed and were unfairly dismissed by the City of Tshwane.

The applicants were respectively employed by the City of Tshwane via successive fixed-term contracts from 1 September 2012 and 1 March 2013 until 31 December 2017, under what the applicants submit was the guise of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) known as “Vat Alles”.

Despite being contracted as EPWP workers, and contrary to the EPWP Code of Good Practice, the applicants worked for an extended period of time. They received no training, the work that they did would have had to be done regardless of the existence of the EPWP programme, their employment did not amount to a job creation programme or an opportunity for a job creation programme. Furthermore, the applicants were not engaged in activities considered to be the provision of services to the public.

In reality, the applicants performed precisely the same work, in the same locations, wearing the same uniforms, using the same tools, and working the same hours alongside permanent employees of the City of Tshwane but were not recognised nor remunerated as permanent employees of the City of Tshwane. The applicants further replaced permanent employees that had been retrenched, dismissed, or absent due to illness.

LHR will make submissions to the Labour Court arguing that the commissioner at the South African Government Local Bargaining Council made an error in deciding that the applicants were not employees of the City of Tshwane without giving them an opportunity to state their case. We will further argue that because the applicants’ case was not heard in the bargaining council, the Judge should grant an order referring the matter back to the bargaining council to have it heard afresh by another commissioner.

“EPWP programmes often lead to the exploitation of workers, whether intentionally or due to negligence in the management thereof, instead of actually alleviating poverty, creating jobs, or providing services to the public. In cases like this, Municipalities avoid their obligations as employers resulting in the violation of workers’ rights” said Jessica Lawrence, senior attorney at LHR.

Mobilisation for this case was provided by the Casual Workers Advice Office, a non-profit organisation that offers free advice and support to precarious workers.

For more information contact:

Jessica Lawrence


Cell: 082 772 9857

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