THE DA in the Eastern Cape has written to transport MEC Weziwe Tikana demanding answers about the on-going overtime pay dispute that has resulted in provincial traffic officers abandoning overtime duties.
Last week provincial traffic officers decided to protest following a long-running dispute with the department of transport over outstanding payments.
Traffic officers in Nelson Mandela Bay, Sarah Baartman, Amathole, O R Tambo, Alfred Nzo and Chris Hani district municipalities are owed between three to four months’ overtime pay.
DA member of the provincial legislature and shadow MEC for transport Marshall von Buchenroder accused Tikana and her department of displaying little political will to fix the problem.
“I have submitted legislature questions to MEC Tikana for details of the outstanding amounts of overtime as well as what remedial steps her department has planned to lighten the workload of the traffic officials.”
Buchenroder said the provincial department of transport had to resolve the issue in order to ensure the safety of all road users in the Eastern Cape.
Over the festive season the province recorded the highest number of road fatalities in the country, with an increase of 22%, from 227 in 2014-15 to 278 in 201516. This was according to figures released by Buchenroder.
“High visibility and tough law enforcement, 24 hours a day, is vital to curb the high death toll in the Eastern Cape,” said Buchenroder.
The DA has also called for the immediate filling of funded vacancies in the department as well as appointment of additional traffic officers according to the department’s organogram.
They also called for the department to build more satellite offices to alleviate the long distances officers have to drive in order to do their patrolling.
Traffic officer’s labour union, the Public Servants’ Association (PSA), vowed to continue the overtime strike until all outstanding money owed to officers was paid.
The work-to-rule protest will see officers refuse to be on special duties for events including concerts, sport tournaments, funerals and school functions, and running road blocks and drunken driving awareness campaigns.
According to the PSA, officers were yet to receive overtime money for the funeral of the Reverend Makhenkesi Stofile.
Earlier this month, Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle urged all heads of departments to ensure public servants were paid all outstanding money.
Provincial transport spokeswoman Ntombi Bala said the department had already started making payments on all outstanding overtime payments.
Bala said the department was engaging with labour unions on all issues affecting workers.
She did not want to give further details. — MALIBONGWE DAYIMANI email@example.com