Water back, losses counted

2017-11-16 06:00

AT the time of going to press, Ugu District Municipality was still working around the clock to restore water in all areas after many days of shortages, however, some high-lying areas in Margate­ and Ramgate still have none.

The cut-off stemmed from a seven-day strike by South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) affiliated­ Ugu employees who downed tools two weeks ago in demand of a Sanlam group scheme payout that had been deducted from their salaries over a number of years.

Some of it was paid out, but employees are demanding the balance, with interest.

The strike was called off last Friday after a task team appointed by the provincial government and Samwu reached a deal after negotiations with the municipality stalled.

The team comprising of six MECs was established at the provincial cabinet meeting last Wednesday where municipal manager DD Naidoo and the mayor Mondli Chiliza were called to present their case about the water crisis.

At a meeting at the Port Shepstone Civic Centre on Monday, Samwu chairperson Mthandeni Ngcobo said the union came to an agreement with the task team that employees will be paid before December 15.

A promise was also made that all other issues raised by employees in a memorandum presented to Chiliza a few months ago will be resolved.

“It is not only the group scheme we worried about, there are lots of other issues that need to be resolved,” said Ngcobo, adding that the agreement will firstly be seen by the union’s legal team before signing it.

Briefing the media, Naidoo said no agreement has been signed yet, but the municipality will have to pay employees back their group scheme contribution.

“We are happy the strike is over now and all the striking workers are back at work.

“We have been working around the clock to reverse the water cut-off and now water is back in most of the areas that were affected,” said Naidoo.

He also said sabotage charges have been laid with SAPS after some of the striking employees were accused of tampering with the valves and vandalising municipal infrastructure and will be brought to book.

Naidoo said over the years Sanlam honoured its commitment and paid families of employees who had died while still working for the municipality.

In November last year the group scheme was cancelled at the request of the staff. Staff then wanted their contributions paid back to them, with interest, and initiated strike action. The late mayor Tolomane Myayiza agreed to pay them back their contributions going back to 2012.

Sanlam was invited to a meeting and allegedly agreed to pay back the money, however, a few days later Ugu allegedly received a letter from Sanlam informing them that payment will not be made because the agreement had been signed under duress as their representatives felt threatened.

The water cut-off stemmed from a seven-day strike by South African Municipal Workers
Union (Samwu) affiliated­ Ugu employees who downed tools two weeks ago

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