Accountability demanded from Coast Care workers

STAFF REPORTER

NINE Coast Care workers caught sleeping on the job in the dunes on Port Alfred’s West Beach have been warned by their bosses to “do their jobs or lose their jobs”.

Working for the Coast project managers MBB Consulting Engineers and the project’s Port Alfred labour desk said in a statement this week that strict disciplinary action has been taken against the slackers following articles in the Talk of the Town in August.

“We have to work in line with government dismissal guidelines, which specify that a warning must be given before dismissal. However, sharper supervision of all workers has been implemented and slackers will not be tolerated,” said MBB director Pravesh Nosib.

“We are also instituting a strict accountability strategy in the Port Alfred area, where the infringement happened, and have established a system for the public to file complaints,” Nosib added.

From November 1 Coast Care workers will wear orange vests with a large number on the back and front to make it easy to identify the group of workers as well as individuals.

As a positive incentive to encourage and acknowledge those who work hard and who are committed to the job a “worker of the month” award will be instituted, which carries a reward as well as recognition, Nosib said.

MBB was appointed by department of environmental affairs to implement the Working for the Coast project along the 93km stretch of coastline from the Keiskamma River to Kenton-on-Sea.

The purpose of the project is to make a positive difference to the coastal environment as well as creating jobs. Each month workers tackle 20 to 30ha of land on the 42km stretch of beach east and west of Port Alfred.

The manual work mainly entails litter removal, alien plant eradication and the rehabilitation of degraded areas. Working for the Coast also tackles upgrading campsites, revamping and building braai facilities, removal of abandoned illegal structures and maintaining and repairing boardwalks.

“We will be taking a series of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs so the public can see the difference the project is making,” said Nosib.

Working for the Coast employs 22 people in the Port Alfred area, of which 18 are women. Nosib said many of them are single mothers and rely on the job to feed their families.

“Apart from learning job related skills, we would like people to learn to keep a job by being punctual, hard working, obeying the rules, respecting others and making a positive difference,” said Nosib.

Two teams of 10, each with a supervisor, tackle a planned programme each week. Workers are paid R74 a day and supervisors receive R159. Normal working hours are from 8am until 4.30pm with a 15 minute tea break from 10am and half an hour for lunch from 1.00pm.

However, if the site is remote workers prefer to work through their tea or lunch break and take the break later in the day, Nosib said.

He encouraged the public to report any infringements by the workers by e-mailing him at mbbpkn@imaginet.co.za or SMSing 073-809-4957. Complainants are requested to provide the worker’s number, as well as the time, date and place and details of the incident as well as your name and contact details.

Photographs of the incident, with time and date stamp, are also welcomed.

The complaint will be investigated and relevant disciplinary action will be taken, said Nosib. If contact details are given, the complainant will be contacted with the results.

“If workers are not pulling their weight they will be warned and then dismissed. There are plenty of people who need and want jobs,” Nosib said.

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