Municipal shake-up for cadres

2011-07-16 15:44

Civil servants such as personal ­assistants, secretaries and chauffeurs across the country face the axe in ANC-led municipalities as new bosses seek to employ their own people.

The SA Municipal Workers ­Union (Samwu) has been inundated with complaints from their members.

The trend is particularly evident in provinces where the party is plagued by divisions that saw ­leaders campaigning against one another for mayoral seats.

The ­majority of cases have been registered at Samwu offices in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West, where civil ­servants face:

» Losing their jobs due to forced resignations and expired ­contracts;

» Being assigned other responsibilities that are not related to their skills or qualifications; and

» Being shifted to other departments in the municipalities where they become redundant.

However, City Press understands that it may be illegal for mayors to tamper with workers’ contracts.

It would be a breach of a 2007 collective agreement that the SA Local Government Association (Salga) entered into with Samwu and the Independent ­Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.

The agreement stipulates that employees, with the exception of municipal managers and directors, are employed permanently and their conditions of service are uniformly determined at the ­national council.

In Mpumalanga alone, where ­only one mayor in 21 municipalities retained his job after the ­local elections in May, there have been 20 ­complaints from employees in nine municipalities.

Samwu’s Limpopo secretary ­Alfred Sithole said his office has registered complaints from almost all the province’s 22 municipalities about employees being forced to shift positions.

Free State has five complaints from the Masilonyana municipality (Theunissen); while Eastern Cape, ­Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West could not provide ­exact numbers.

Samwu secretaries in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, however, said that they had not ­received complaints.

A personal assistant to the former executive mayor of the ­Steve Tshwete municipality

(Middelburg) was told to leave even though he has a permanent ­contract.

Samwu intervened on his behalf and the municipality agreed to give him another position, but at a ­lower level.

Other Mpumalanga workers ­facing the problem declined to comment for fear of victimisation.

Simon Riekert, Imatu’s spokesperson, said: “Nepotism reigns and municipalities are left with ­dissatisfied employees, which ­affects service delivery.”

National cooperative governance spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga said the ministry was not yet aware of such complaints but they would ­probably be brought to its ­attention by Salga.

“I think whether this happens or not depends on the contracts they’ve signed. New mayors may want to work with certain people that they can trust,” Qinga said.

Salga spokesperson Milisa ­Kentane did not respond to written questions on the matter.

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