update


UPDATE: ‘There simply are not enough jobs,’ says Sappi

Silindile Dube claims police pepper sprayed her and other protestors this morning.

UPDATE, MARCH 16:

SAPPI confirmed that despite the fact that every effort is made to prioritise local recruitment in order to grow the business and support the local economy through the creation of jobs, there simply are not enough jobs at the mill to absorb the large number of job seekers.

Regional Communications Manager, Elijah Masondo explained that Sappi Saiccor already employs around 1 240 permanent staff with almost half coming from Umkomaas, Magabeni, Craigieburn, Roseneath and Widenham.

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“In addition, the company employs people from Umgababa and other surrounding areas such as Port Shepstone, Amanzimtoti, Umlazi and KwaMashu. Depending on the availability, the mill also employs skilled and qualified professionals from elsewhere in the country,” he added.

It was further explained that although the need for employment is recognised, Sappi does offer an annual intake of process trainees and apprentices, in which a large number of the applicants are from the communities close to the mill.

Krish Naidu, General Manager of the Sappi Saiccor Mill responded to queries from the local community on Monday and explained that: “We prioritise the local communities as much as we can when we recruit general workers at Sappi Saiccor.”

ORIGINAL STORY, MARCH 15:

UMKOMAAS SAPS are out in full force at Sappi Saiccor in Umkomaas where hundreds of protestors are blocking the facility’s main gate.

Community members gathered this morning demanding that they be given jobs so that they can earn a decent wage and support their families.

Protestors blocking access to and from the facility

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Shockingly, one of the protestors, Silindile Dube, claimed that the police had pepper sprayed her and other protestors earlier this morning.

This is not confirmed at this stage.

Ms Dube said: “We were being peaceful, you must ‘shoot’ us with your camera and tell everyone.”

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In the meantime, Sappi staff are re-directing vehicles through a separate entrance in order to avoid any possible conflict or contact with the protestors.

As this is a developing story, more information will be made available when possible.

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  AUTHOR
Juan Venter
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