Things got tighter on the farm when it was discovered that assets kept disappearing and a probe began.
ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa has fired six workers at his Badplaas farm and a case of theft opened against them.
The workers were suspended three weeks ago and will each this week Friday receive a letter informing them they have been fired.
013NEWS spoke to three of them who confirmed the matter and provided this paper with the names of the other workers who had also been suspended.
One of three on Monday afternoon this week confessed to the reporter that he took bags of maize and fertiliser from the wealthy politician’s Ntaba Nyoni farm.
He said he did so after they were allegedly told they would not get their December bonuses.
He said their jobs ended three days before Christmas – on 22 December 2017 -when the Ntaba Nyoni management suspended all of them.
“Someone was telling them that there are people who are stealing on the farm,” the worker said.
“And then we were suspended. Lie detectors were called by management and there were disciplinary hearings and now we are waiting for the outcomes of it,” he said.
He asked us not to take a photo of him or reveal his name and said that he believed more people are still to be fired.
It’s understood recently there has been rampant theft at the deputy president’s farm – with the collaboration of a site manager.
“All of them steal,” another worker told the reporter. “He (Ramaphosa) will fire them, watch,” he said.
Called ‘Ntaba Nyoni Estate’, the 5000 hectare-farm outside the Badplaas area in the Mpumalanga province feeds as well as breeds and auctions the healthiest and some of the most expensive cows in the world.
It was owned by Herman Rosenbush until Ramaphosa bought it in 2003.
Kobus Rall, manager at the farm, confirmed the matter and said they are “on a process of firing” the workers after the workers were given “a fair chance to defend themselves”.
He said 33 bags of fertiliser and maize seeds, chain saws, grass-cutters, batteries, a welding machine and a mobile toilet disappeared in December 2017 from the farm.
“The stolen items were at first valued at approximately R40 000 but after further investigations a more realistic value of R90 000 was calculated,” he said, adding also meat and other materials like cements got stolen
“We have received a recommendation from the consultants to fire all six of them,” Rall said on Wednesday this week.
“It came to light that many more items were missing from the farm,” Rall said.
“Five suspects were identified through statements by fellow workers.
“These suspects, 4 general workers and a white manager, were suspended with full salary and a fair disciplinary enquiry was held with each of them. The results of the enquiry have not been communicated with them yet,” the general manager said.
During the course of the disciplinary hearings, another suspect was identified and he was also suspended.
He added Ntaba Nyoni pays between 2 and 3 bonuses every year to workers and the December 2017 bonuses were not going to be paid “because of the surge of theft”.
“Furthermore, it must be kept in mind that most of the suspects also owe the company a lot of money in the form of personal loans,” Rall said.
“Ntaba Nyoni workers have transport to and from work, 3 meals a day, good and neat accommodation for those who stay on the farm, mealie meal every month for their families, personal loans to build houses and buy cattle from the farm and also receive increases annually.
“It boggles the mind that people still want to steal from an employer who is looking after his employees so well,” the manager said.
Badplaas police spokeswoman Sergeant Cynthia Vilakazi-Dlamini confirmed the matter.
She said a case of theft was registered on 31 December 2017 and that the police are looking at it.
(edited by ZK)
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