A former senior EFF employee is taking the party to the CCMA, claiming it docked his pay for more than a year.
Former Free State provincial administrator Frans James has levelled shocking allegations against the party and former secretary general Godrich Gardee.
James told News24 he had been dismissed after speaking out against the organisation’s alleged illegal docking of legislature salaries.
In a strongly-worded letter, which News24 has seen, James said Gardee and two provincial EFF leaders went to great lengths to victimise and frustrate him.
“This came after I questioned withholding of part of my salary by the organisation since September 2016, which is paid from the Free State provincial legislature into one of the three bank accounts of the organisation,” James wrote.
News24 spoke to Gardee who said he was aware of the CCMA case. However, he said he could not comment because he was no longer the secretary general.
Marshall Dlamini replaced Gardee at the party’s elective conference, the National People’s Assembly, where a new top six was elected.
When he was approached for comment, Dlamini said he would only be able to comment on matters related to his office on January 13, when he steps into his new role.
According to James, more than R500 000, including benefits, was illegally docked from his salary.
He claimed the docking occurred after EFF provincial chairperson Mandisa Makesini, allegedly advised by Gardee, wrote a letter to the party’s War Council and asked it to deduct salaries of those who were paid by the legislature “because it was too much” and divert funds to other needs of the organisation.
“This saw 50% of salaries of all staff members and their benefits taken away by the EFF. This led to many staff members running into financial ruin, with others going [into] debt administration and others suffering a health breakdown as a result,” he added.
At the time of the elective conference, former treasurer general Leigh-Ann Mathys told journalists the party had forked out R32m of its IEC (Electoral Commission of SA), legislative and parliamentary funding budget.
During the same conference in December, one party delegate spoke about an unfair practice where councillors’ salaries were docked, up to 50%, compared to that of MPs.
At a press briefing, EFF leader Julius Malema admitted the party would have to review this practice.
‘Free to leave’
James added that when staff complained to party leaders they were told that “they are free to leave and get jobs elsewhere”.
“As staff, we organised ourselves and wrote a letter to the [deputy president], Floyd Shivambu, as he is the head of governance in the EFF and controls all the caucuses (national, provincial and municipal). Our pleas fell on deaf ears as he didn’t even respond.”
He said he personally wrote to his human resources manager and the then deputy secretary general, Hlengiwe Hlophe, but had no joy and “was sent from pillar to post”.
‘I must let this go’
He was first told that the office of the treasurer general said the salaries were too high and that if he wanted to keep his post, “I must let this go”.
“Hlophe refused to intervene and apparently said she didn’t want to upset [Malema].
“But then my contention was that why was this only applied to the Free State legislature staff and not [to] other provinces, why the leadership was not leading by example by also taking salary cuts,” he said.
James claimed the party’s leaders abused him and that Gardee called him a drunk at a party campaign meeting.
He was then charged with misconduct and bringing the party into disrepute for something he posted to social media. This led to his dismissal from the party.
“November 25 was the day the hearing was supposed to sit and the employer representative was not there. I have records in the form of an attendance register and audio clip of the hearing to that effect. Since then, I didn’t hear from the [human resources department] until December 23 when she sent me the dismissal letter. I have since referred the matter to the CCMA and the date is set for January 17.”
James added that he did not care about the job or the money but believed they owed him.
“I want to expose the hypocrisy of these people who are masquerading as the vanguard of the working class and I know that they are saying that I will never get my money because they are going to frustrate me until I don’t have a cent to mount a legal battle.” News24