Meter project slammed

2009-08-31 00:00

BOTH labour federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have voiced their opposition to the Msunduzi Municipality’s R240 million automated meter reading (AMR) project.

At a press briefing on Friday, both organisations condemned the outsourcing of the city’s meter-reading function as “nothing but financial looting and abuse of office by both the executive and the administration”.

Cosatu’s Zet Luzipho confirmed that at issue for the union federation is not who gets the tender, but that it is opposed to outsourcing.

Luzipho said fellow Cosatu members in Port Elizabeth have stated that they are aware that the AMR system has been stopped there. “We have asked our union counterparts in the Eastern Cape to provide documentary evidence of what went wrong,” he said.

The municipality has said the current meter-reading staff will be be offered vacancies.

“This is not the point,” said Luzipho. “It means that existing workers will fill posts and no new people will be employed by the municipality. This is not right at a time of high unemployment.”

The SACP’s Themba Mthembu said the government is calling for labour-intensive projects that will create more jobs.

“Automated systems by their nature replace workers, and need skilled specialists to maintain them,” he added.

Luzipho said Cosatu will be writing to the Msunduzi Municipality to seek clarity on the AMR issue, as it has a number of concerns.

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