JOHANNESBURG - A large group of about 200 Jozi@Work protesters left a trail of destruction in their wake in central Johannesburg late on Wednesday night as some residents continued to express objection against the canning of the programme.
The protesters, who were wearing their trademark yellow overalls, made their way up Bree and Jeppe streets in the city centre, and turned on Rissik street facing the City council offices all the while upending and breaking rubbish bins into the street.
City of Johannesburg Public Safety MMC, Michael Sun, says officials are trying to check if the people who went on a rampage last night, are indeed Jozi@Work employees.
“From the public safety aspect we are investigating. Because as you would understand, we don’t want innocent Jozi@Work workers to be blamed for something they didn’t do. A yellow overall is very easy to obtain. But those that are wearing any kind of clothing in the disguise of innocent people’s name must be brought to justice.”
A Pikitup truck that was collecting rubbish in the vicinity had to speed away in a hurry after it was chased and workers threatened with sticks.
Protesters, who were busy chanting slogans against Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba, flatly declined to be approached for comment.
There's a group of people busy trashing the CBD rn -- pic.twitter.com/mgqWPcAYGn— Mpongo kaZingelwayo (@kafur_) March 1, 2017
Mashaba announced last month he would cancel the City’s R1 billion co-production programme Jozi@Work which was spearheaded by the previous administration, saying that it was littered with patronage.
Jozi@Work, a programme designed to allow communities to partner with the city in the delivery of municipal services in their neighbourhoods, was launched in September 2014.
Speaking to ANA on Wednesday, Mashaba’s spokesperson Tony Taverna-Turisan said the City would continue to honour existing contracts under the programme as it continued the process of revamping the Jozi@Work programme.
Taverna-Turisan said that no jobs have been lost as a result of the City’s decision to revamp the programme, adding that all community members currently employed under Jozi@Work would continue working under the programme until the completion of their contracts.
“It is important to stress that work opportunities provided under the existing Jozi@Work programme are of a temporary nature. Currently, no work opportunities have been withdrawn in the process of revamping the existing programme,” Taverna-Turisan said.
“Rather, the key objective behind revamping Jozi@Work is ensuring that work opportunities under the programme are allocated freely and fairly whilst expanding work opportunities for residents. The new revamped Jozi@Work will bring to an end the network of patronage used to direct work opportunities to ANC members under the past administration.”
Taverna-Turisan said once the City’s new project is launched, it would directly employ workers within the City, ending the City’s reliance on Capacity Support Agent (CSA), middle men who would outsource the work.
Meanwhile, a Council Sitting in Braamfontein where Mashaba was scheduled to table the City’s 2016/17 Medium-Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework for adoption was thrown into a state of chaos when at least 300 people, alleged to be members of the Johannesburg Social Movement (JSM), stormed the into the chamber.
The JSM protesters were marching on the Joburg Council to express their displeasure at the cancellation of the Jozi@Work programmes by Mashaba.
African News Agency