Samwu breaks voting stalemate

2010-11-23 00:00

THE SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) elected new office bearers in the Msunduzi Municipality on Friday after three failed attempts.

The Witness recently reported that divisions among union members in the Msunduzi Municipality have led to the repeated postponement of the elections.

The divisions resulted allegedly after a faction supporting suspended senior municipal officials and politicians had wanted to show up the provincial administrator, Johan Mettler, as incompetent so that he would be forced to leave. Another faction is said to have supported Mettler and his turnaround team.

The elections are seen as a sign that the workers are now united.

Samwu provincial secretary Jason Ncanana said, “The elections at Msunduzi went well and there were no irregularities.”

He said the officials were elected uncontested.

The new office bearers are Lucky Zimu (chairperson), Andiswa Nqetho (deputy chairperson) and Thulani Nzimande (general secretary).

A union member who wished to remain anonymous said, “The problem was that a lot of shop stewards wanted to be local office bearers — that is the main reason we kept on postponing the elections.”

He added, “Many shop stewards believe that being an office bearer creates an impression that one wields a lot of influence within the union because there is no meeting that you cannot attend.

“Now that there is new leadership, I wonder if the union members will support the new office bearers.”

The Witness asked Zimu what challenges he thinks he will face as chairperson.

“The problem within the union is the lies, and if shop stewards continue to give workers information that is misleading then we will not be able to lead workers properly,” he said.

He said shop stewards must not be afraid to tell the workers when they don’t know about certain developments. “We are in the dark about developments within the municipality, so those who were sitting in labour forums to represent us must give us all the information.”

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