Mbilwi Secondary School is synonymous with excellent Grade 12 results year after year.
The school, situated in Sibasa, has consistently been producing great results over the years and has been rated as one of the best schools in the country.
But those in charge of the state-of-the-art school seem not well versed in labour law. Twelve support staff at the school who have been working as unregistered workers for years say they have had enough of the school management’s promises.
The workers, some of whom started working at the school way back in 2006, said they had been part of the school's achievements over the years but were forgotten when it came to compensation. "When we joined the school staff some years ago, we were filled with high hopes that our lives would change for the better, but that has not been the case. The law says a worker who works for an institution for more than three months must be registered as full-time worker, but with us it has been years now,” said one of the affected workers.
The worker, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, said this was impacting very negatively on them and their families. He further indicated that life was an uphill struggle for them and their families with the meagre salary they received each month. He said they were not allowed to open accounts or even to access loans, as they did not even have payslips.
"We have been promised permanent positions for a long time, but nothing has come out of these promises. The last time we met was during our annual meeting in December and we have been waiting ever since," he said. He added that the school was achieving the good results partly because of their efforts, but their efforts were going down the drain.
Mbilwi’s DGB secretary, Ms Patricia Lithole, said she was surprised to hear that. "We have a contract with these workers and they know it is for a year only and is renewable when there is a need. We are unable to absorb them as permanent staff as we do not have funds. Most of our resources are directed at the learners, who are our core business," she said.
Date:15 October 2018 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.