Premier Supra Mahumapelo rubbishes Cosatu’s allegations of salary cuts for public servants

By Drum Digital
12 January 2017

Supra Mahumapelo, premier of Bokone Bophirima (formerly known as North West Province) has dismissed the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (Cosatu) accusation that he was planning to “unilaterally” cut salaries of public servants.

By Aphiwe Boyce

The premier’s spokesperson Brian Setswambung denied the allegations saying there were no salary cuts for public servants from the province.  He said the allegations emanated from an article in the New Age newspaper dated 10 January 2017 which reported that the province contemplates salary cuts.

“This article is a complete distortion and misrepresentation of facts . . . There is no intention on the part of provincial government to entertain salary discussions at a provincial level.”

The statement from the premier’s office follows in the wake of a strongly-worded statement released by Cosatu’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla, in which the federation warned the premier to stop interfering in matters that are not in his domain.  “We will not allow him or anyone to undermine collective bargaining agreements and violate the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. While we strongly support fiscal prudence and belt tightening, especially by political office bearers, we will never allow any unilateral fiddling and interference with workers’ salaries by the provincial administration,” the statement read.

Pamla said Cosatu has long noted that Mahumapelo likes to harass public servants every time he craves some attention.  “We are still waiting for evidence that there are 36 000 ghost employees in the North West provincial administration as stridently claimed by him last year.”

“This anti-workers mind-set from an African National Congress (ANC) led provincial administration makes a mockery of the alliance and will further alienate the ANC from the workers,” his statement read.

The federation said if the premier wants to save money, he should focus his energies on sorting out the mess of irregular expenditure that was discovered and exposed by the auditor-general last year that amounted to R2.9 billion and also cancel the ridiculous plans by his provincial administration to buy him a private jet. He should also lead by example by volunteering to reduce and donate a portion of his salary to the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the province.

“We will have no problem in shutting down the North West administration if it ill-treats public servants and sees them as easy targets and scapegoats for the dire economic situation in the country.”

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