Call to end meter project

2009-07-22 00:00

MEMBERS of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) marched through the streets to the Pietermaritzburg City Hall yesterday to hand-deliver a memorandum outlining their grievances.

Reading out the memorandum to Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo and municipal manager Rob Haswell, Samwu shop steward Themba Lyons called for the cessation of privatisation and outsourcing, saying it would put people out of their jobs.

He said they were disturbed to read about the municipality’s new high-tech water and electricity meter reading system in the media and called for it to be stopped.

Lyons said Samwu was calling for effective service delivery in all areas.

“Service delivery must be equal in all communities. Current fire services only cater for whites and Indians, not people in the townships,” he said.

Lyons said Samwu was against the casualisation of labour and said all temporary employees must be hired on a full-time basis.

He said the suspension of firefighter Mbulelo Majola was unjust and demanded his immediate re-instatement coupled with full pay. He said that Majola, who is also a shop steward, was being victimised and this did not sit well with Samwu.

Majola was suspended almost two weeks ago by then acting municipal manager Kevin Perumal for inciting staff.

Sources told The Witness that Majola’s only crime was that he requested that the fire fleet be upgraded and urged for additional fire stations to be set up in areas such as Northdale and Edendale. The W itness has learnt that Samwu was meant to have been consulted prior to the suspension, but this was not done.

Lyons said the municipality needs to stop protecting non-performing managers.

“When we are perceived to be in the wrong, we are quick to be suspended, but managers who are actually in the wrong … are protected,” he said.

Lyons said Majola’s suspension has brought the municipality into disrepute and those responsible must be suspended immediately.

He said Samwu was against favouritism, discrimination and racism and said locals should not be overlooked for positions in favour of those residing outside the city.

Lyons said they were told to expect a six percent pay increase and this was unacceptable.

“Workers can’t afford decent housing with the salaries they get. It’s difficult to be productive at work when you’ve slept in a tent all night,” he said.

Hlatshwayo said the municipality had budgeted for a 12% pay increase, but this would be discussed once council recess ends.

She urged the crowd to bring their issues to the labour forum in order for them to be resolved. She said those whose services would no longer be required to read meters would not lose their jobs, but would be redeployed.


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