West Rand District Municipality workers go home to wait for salaries

2018-11-01 08:49
Workers stage a sit-in at the West Rand District municipality over unpaid salaries (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

Workers stage a sit-in at the West Rand District municipality over unpaid salaries (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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The sit-in over unpaid salaries at the West Rand District Municipality has ended, chief of staff Tshepo Mathodlana confirmed on Thursday.

"It ended at midnight," said Mathodlana, who has also not been paid his salary yet. 

He said more news on the situation was expected later on Thursday, and the details will be released as they become available.

On Wednesday, chanting workers stormed into a council sitting at about 14:00 and chained the doors leading into the chambers in Randfontein, preventing politicians and executive officials from exiting the building.

READ: Workers at VBS-linked West Rand municipality stage council chambers sit-in over unpaid salaries

They said they would not leave the chambers until they got salary notifications on their cellphones, but eventually agreed to leave and wait for further news.

News24 reported that the municipality invested R77m with the controversial VBS Mutual Bank, despite financial constraints.

The municipality covers a vast area to the far west of Johannesburg and borders North West.

It cites as tourist attractions the world-famous Cradle of Mankind and its main industries are mining, manufacturing and construction.

Some employees said they were last paid in August, and West Rand secretary of the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers' Union Pitso Mogole said employees risked defaulting on financial obligations and having houses repossessed. 

"We have been told that there are no funds to cater for our salaries. They think they are clever, they only paid salaries to lower levels," he said.

ANC speaker in the municipality Nonkoliso Tundzi said the workers had permission to stage the sit-in.

She denied that the municipality was broke, despite its failure to pay salaries and service providers.

"This matter has been on the table for a while. We have been struggling with paying salaries, including ours too," she said.

Tundzi said the municipality was not generating any income and relied on grants to survive. The municipality's budget is burdened by unfunded mandates, she said.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  local government

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