delilleMail & Guardian reports that in a last-minute reprieve, 90 employees of the ailing Independent Development Trust (IDT) were given a three-month extension of their contracts, despite plans by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPW&I) to dissolve the state-owned company.  

The employees were due to join the unemployment queue at the end of March, but the plan to terminate their contracts was suspended after last-minute negotiations between the DPW&I minister, Patricia de Lille, and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) were concluded.  The decision to terminate the contracts by 31 March came after De Lille’s decision to dissolve the IDT, which is responsible for social infrastructure and development programme management, within the next financial year.  In her letter to the IDT’s board regarding her decision, De Lille cited, among other things, poor project management and performance.  The IDT’s management has accused De Lille of making a unilateral decision to dissolve the company, a position which is supported by Nehawu.  The union says the decision to establish the IDT was done through a parliamentary process and that the decision to dissolve it must be conducted through the same process.  Nehawu has proposed that the IDT be turned into a directorate within the DPW&I instead of a separate state-owned entity.

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