Samwu wants Zuma to clarify leadership comments

2010-01-13 14:24

ANC President Jacob Zuma’s remarks about municipal workers holding

leadership positions in political parties has “disturbed” the SA Municipal

Workers’ Union (Samwu).

Zuma’s comments were “part of a concerted effort to depoliticise

and deunionise the public service, which could be disastrous for the country and

the working class”, the union said in a statement on Wednesday.

It would discuss the matter with the ANC’s leadership, offering it

an opportunity to “clarify or apologise” for the president’s comments.

Speaking in Kimberley at the ANC’s 98th anniversary celebrations on

Saturday, Zuma said the party intended to make local government a key focus for

service provision in 2010.

“We are of the view that municipal employees should not hold

leadership positions in political parties...and we will tighten our deployment

procedures to ensure we deploy comrades with political integrity and

professional competence.”

Samwu was “saddened” by the remarks and described them as

“worrying” and “constitutionally and politically unnecessary”.

“The ANC cannot tamper with the freedom of association we are

guaranteed as South Africans and municipal employees,” the union said.

The ANC has long conceded that there are problems at local

government level. Many communities protested against shoddy service delivery

last year, just a short while into Zuma’s term as president.

Corruption, factionalism, nepotism and poor delivery were at the

root of many of the violent protests that erupted across the country.

The ANC had also conducted an audit of the state of the country’s

municipalities, due to be released early this year.

The ANC would discuss the January 8 statement at a national

executive committee lekgotla this weekend. Alliance as well as government

leaders were expected to attend the meeting. Samwu is an affiliate of ANC

alliance partner, the Cosatu.

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