Mogale City mayor evacuated as staff demand bonuses

2016-12-15 22:00
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Johannesburg – Mogale City’s mayor had to be evacuated from the municipality’s offices on Thursday as employees protested to demand bonuses, the DA said.

The municipality could however not pay bonuses as previous ANC administrations had bankrupted it, DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said.

Staff were protesting because of what was promised in 2013, after the city achieved a clean audit.

Moodey said mayor Michael Holenstein had been trying to resolve the issue amicably, but it had been clear that staffers at the municipality had been short-changed all along.

“The previous municipal manager signed for the people to receive their 3% bonuses, knowing full-well that the DA has inherited a bankrupt municipality, with an overdraft of more than R25 million,” Moodey said.

In a letter Holenstein sent to the SA Municipal Workers’ Union shortly after being elected mayor on December 7, he said their members would receive bonuses on December 15. The bonuses, however, had not been paid because the municipality did not have enough money.

An employee, who did not want to be named, told News24 that staffers began demonstrating at 07:30 on Thursday.

They wanted their money now, and not a payout between December and June 2017, as Holenstein had suggested, said the source.

The staff member claimed Holenstein ran away instead of speaking to workers and explaining why the municipality could not afford to pay bonuses.

The ANC had been in charge of the municipality since 1994. It lost control of it to a coalition of opposition parties in the August 3 local government elections. The DA holds the mayoral position.

“There’s just no money to pay that 3% bonus to workers,” said Moodey.

He said Holenstein was ready to continue talks with labour representatives. He had warned them of the city’s predicament.

“The mayor has spoken to the chief financial officer who has indicated that they (workers) will be paid as money comes in,” he said.

“The mayor finds himself in a situation completely out of his ambit or scope. What do you do when there are demands to pay something the municipality absolutely has no money for?” Moodey asked.

 

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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