Coast Care under fire again


COAST Care workers were slammed again last Friday, for alleged slothfulness and knocking off early while volunteers cleaned up flood debris on Kelly’s Beach.

Just that morning the workers’ bosses at MBB Consulting Engineers and several Ndlambe councillors exhorted the workers to appreciate the opportunity they had been given and take their responsibilities seriously.

The 22 workers, employed to pick up litter on the beaches and help eradicate alien vegetation, were given numbered bibs last Friday in an effort to make them more easily identifiable and accountable after they were caught sleeping on the job in August.

AFTERNOON OFF: Coast Care workers were criticised again last Friday after being spotted “walking at a snail’s pace” up and down Wesley Hill Picture: JON HOUZET

Each worker has been assigned a specific number for the duration of their employment with Working for the Coast (WftC).

“If they don’t wear their bibs they’ll be disciplined,” said WftC project manager Mandisi Stuma.

However, when TotT photographed them walking down Wesley Hill just after 2pm last Friday, none of the workers were wearing their bibs.

TotT was alerted by resident Anita Victor that a group of Coast Care workers was “walking at a snail’s pace” up Wesley Hill towards town.

Victor said she had seen what appeared to be the same group walking from the robots up the other side of Wesley Hill towards the beach at about 11.30am.

“At about 1.30pm they were at the Prince’s Avenue and Wesley Hill intersection, heading back towards town. They took about half an hour to walk up the hill,” said Victor.

HARD AT WORK: While Coast Care workers put in less than half-a-day’s work last Friday, young volunteers helped pick up litter among the flood debris on Kelly’s Blue Flag Beach Picture: JON HOUZET

At the same time, youths from the Port Alfred Baptist Church and Port Alfred High School were cleaning up flood debris on Kelly’s Beach.

Baptist Church youth intern Ross Pilkington said they had focused on Kelly’s Beach to help make it ready for the Blue Flag season.

The Coast Care workers said they had just come from Kelly’s Beach and had no knowledge of the volunteers.

Asked why they were not working, the workers responded it was meant to be their day off, as “yesterday was pay-day”, and they had just showed up for the handover of the bibs that morning.

They said they were told to just put in a half-day’s work at Kelly’s Beach.

As for why they were not wearing their numbered bibs, they said Stuma had told them to remove the bibs when they walked back from the beach.

MBB director Pravesh Nosib admitted on Monday he “should have mentioned” that the workers only worked until 1pm last Friday.

He said according to a directive from WftC the workers are entitled to one paid “leave” dayper month and Friday was this”paid leave” day.

“We have again spoken to the workers and warned them that we expect a good day’s work and if they don’t perform to standards then they will lose their jobs,” Nosib said.

“We have already communicated with the workers about the slow pace they walk and will be monitoring them.”

WftC spokeswoman Kim Clarkin agreed that “we need to establish some standards here about pace”.

“With the best will in the world I don’t think you will ever see cleaners rushing around but a fair pace is certainly required. Snails should not be forcedto overtake the workers,” she said.

Nosib confirmed the workers were allowed to remove their bibs after they “clocked out” with Stuma.

He encouraged members of the public with complaints to contact him directly on (046) 622-7223.

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