Workers call for action against Msunduzi bosses

2010-02-22 00:00

WORKERS in the embattled Msunduzi Municipality are adamant that disciplinary action must be taken against those responsible for the council’s financial crisis, and they want the provincial government to take control of the municipality.

Speaking after Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo addressed the municipality’s workers on Friday, to allay fears that staff won’t be paid, employee representatives said they want the municipal management to be stripped of power.

Secretary of the Msunduzi Shopstewards’ Association, Themba Lyons, said that they only listened to Hlatshwayo’s report — and they will meet as labour today to map the way forward.

However, Lyons said workers want the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube — who announced last week that the municipality had enough money for one week of operations — to impose section 139 legislation on the council. The legislation transfers the power of running a municipality to the MEC.

“We are vindicated [by Dube’s announcement]. We asked her [Dube] to intervene last year on October 15, when we handed over a memorandum during our march. We told her that if she did not impose section 139, the municipality was going to be run into the ground,” said Lyons.

Lyons said workers want all section 57 employees, including municipal manager Rob Haswell, to be either fired or suspended, pending an investigation to reveal exactly what happened to the municipality’s finances.

Dube said last week that “the facts before us indicate that the financial situation in the municipality has deteriorated”.

“The municipality is now experiencing serious cash flow problems, which may lead to services grinding to a halt.”

Dube said the provincial Treasury analysed the Msunduzi Municipality’s financial position, and arrived at the conclusion that its net cash flow has deteriorated significantly over the past two years, ending on June 30, 2009.

She said this was reflected by the net available cash, which fell from R120 million in 2007/08 to a mere R1,7 million in 2008/09.

Dube said the cash coverage ratio had dropped, indicating that the municipality only has sufficient cash to fund approximately one week of operations.

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