Featured Image: EFF National Chairperson and Chair of the Insourcing Task Team at Wits Adv Dali Mpofu earlier this year represented racist and “white supremacy’s poster boy” Gareth Cliff. Photo: Alon Skuy
By BO Staff Writer
Workers and students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) have accused Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is also the National Chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), of betraying them. Mpofu chairs the Insourcing Task Team (ITT) at Wits. The ITT is a product of a difficult struggle of the united workers and students at Wits.
Mpofu and others were tasked to come up with ways to implement the decision to end outsourcing. Sources say the workers have lost trust in Mpofu after the ITT failed to end outsourcing for all the workers. Almost 300 workers are excluded by Mpofu’s task team. On the 26th of May, the ITT announced its recommendations after eight months of deliberations. The recommendations of the ITT were not what workers had struggled for. Mpofu and his committee are accused of siding with the University against workers.
After the ITT report the workers decided to go on an immediate strike. Instead of the ITT supporting the strike, Advocate Dali Mpofu and others promoted the propaganda that their recommendations were a victory for workers. The EFF student body at Wits (EFF Student Command Wits) supported the anti-worker lie that the ITT recommendations are a victory for workers. Former Wits EFF Chairperson Vuyani Pambo even tweeted in support of Mpofu against workers.
— Vuyani Pambo (@vuyanipambo) May 26, 2016
The Black Opinion investigation revealed the following:
1. The task team recommends that almost 300 workers be excluded from insourcing. Why exclude these workers?
2. The ITT has formalized divisions amongst workers to ensure a divide and rule.
3. The excuse used to exclude the 300 workers is that they are employed by “third parties”. Workers say, “This does not make sense since all workers who are outsourced are not employees of Wits.”
4. Wits have leased The Matrix building to a private company which receives rent from retail shops, who in turn have employed the 300 workers. The workers say, “The question the committee failed to answer, is why has the University leased its building which provides a service to the University community?”
5. The workers who have been excluded by the ITT had already been excluded from salary top ups twice now. Workers say the first top up was a ploy by Wits to divide them. The second top up, with the approval of the ITT last week, was used to break the strike. Workers who got the top up stopped the strike and abandoned the 300 to fend for themselves. Discrimination was used by the University to divide workers by the first top up. But they remained united. The ITT has used the second top up to break the strike. Now the workers “bribed” with further top ups have broken the strike and went back to work. Workers say “This is a betrayal of workers similar to what Unions and Management did at Marikana”. An interesting observation from students who are sympathetic to the workers on strike is that the ITT deliberately provided its anti-workers recommendations during the examinations period. This was a strategy to isolate workers and undermine the strong revolutionary bond between students and workers.
6. The strike by the 300 workers has been going on for two weeks now and there are fears that they maybe dismissed with the approval of the ITT which has already betrayed them.
– The demands of The Matrix workers is that they also get their top up increases, back dated to the first top up from which they were excluded.
– The University to immediately cancel the lease of the Matrix building.
A further worrying factor is that Associate Professor Noor Nieftagodien, who is part of the ITT, is said to be seating on more than R100 000 of a workers solidarity fund but won’t release money for the striking workers who are starving. The impact, by design or ommission, would be to starve workers back to the slavery of outsourcing.