Minister Nkomo dumps sacked whistleblower

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Water Resources Management and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo says he has referred the case of a fired Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline project employee to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) for redress.

Tapson Nyathi was sacked three weeks ago by a Chinese company, China Nanchang, after he told Nkomo during a site visit that workers at the project were being verbally abused and subjected to poor working conditions by their employer.

The minister immediately ordered an investigation into the matter. The allegations came after one of the project workers, Charles Moyo, was crushed to death when walls of a 10-metre-deep pipeline caved in on him and five colleagues while they were laying pipes at the site in March.

Nkomo’s aide, Butholezwe Nyathi, said: “The reason given by the contractor is that the said worker was underperforming. That is the reason they have for dismissing him.

“However, we have since advised the sacked employee to seek the services of NSSA over the matter because he was on a contract with the Chinese contractor and not the ministry,” said Nyathi.

Earlier on, a representative of the Chinese firm, Xinsheng Jiang, had denied reports that the company fired one of its employees following the minister’s visit to the site.

The official also denied allegations of verbally abusing workers.

There have been several reports of abuse of employees by their Chinese bosses at companies around the country.