Protesters vandalise building

2013-08-02 00:00

SERVICES at Mpofana (Mooi River) Municipality ground to a halt this week when striking workers allegedly trashed the reception area and cut telephone cables.

By yesterday windows were allegedly broken, rubbish strewn outside the building and workers stormed into a council meeting. A resolution was taken at the meeting that criminal charges would be laid against the striking workers today.

This is the second time in two months that there has been a worker uprising at the municipality.

In May, The Witness reported that workers had been on a three-week go-slow. They were protesting against the poor financial state of the municipality that had resulted in telephone accounts allegedly not being paid, and not having the tools of their trade to enable them to do their jobs.

There were no pens and paper and they had to also make do without toilet paper. By mid-June they reluctantly returned to work. An employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said they decided to go on strike this time because there was very little improvement to their situation.

He said at the heart of the matter was that there was no leadership and they have been waiting months for the appointment of a municipal manager (MM) and chief financial officer (CFO).

Mayor Ntombi Mpangase­ Mchunu could not be reached and did not answer her cellphone.

DA councillor Ken Denysschen said that as far as he was aware a MM and CFO had been appointed. The last he heard the names of the candidates chosen were sent to the Co-operative Governance Department (Cogta) for verification of such matters as criminal records and qualifications. However, by last night Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said that they had not yet received the names.

Mabaso said there had been financial challenges at the municipality and Cogta had sent officials to help. The department had also assisted in the process of hiring new officials. He said they had not been informed about the workers’ strike but Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube was currently visiting municipalities and would be calling on the Mpofana Municipality.

SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) regional chairperson Samora Ndlovu confirmed that workers were on strike at the municipality. He said there were several issues under dispute, but refused to go into detail. He denied that his members were involved in vandalising the municipal buidings and said those making the allegations must prove it.

The SA Police Service said so far no charges had been laid against any of the workers.

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