West Rand municipality workers vow to continue shutdown until premier addresses their demands

2018-11-14 20:33
A man flies the Samwu flag during a protest in Johannesburg. (Cornel Van Heerden, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

A man flies the Samwu flag during a protest in Johannesburg. (Cornel Van Heerden, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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Workers at the embattled West Rand District Municipality say they will not budge until all their demands have been met. 

On Wednesday the workers embarked on a march and handed over a memorandum to the office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura calling on him to deal with their grievances.

According to South African Municipal Workers' Union spokesperson Bongani Mgcina, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who is acting premier while Makhura is believed to be out of the country, received the memorandum. 

"MEC Lesufi accepted our memorandum and made a commitment that within seven days he will respond to all our demands," Mgcina said. 

However, Mgcina was adamant that they would continue with their shutdown until all their demands, including that their third-party funds (e.g medical aid, pension and provident fund contributions) are paid to them.

"While the acting premier (Lesufi) is contemplating answers to our memorandum, we will not be rendering our services," Mgcina said.

Building safety concern

Mgcina said their memorandum also called for the municipality to be placed under administration under section 139 of the Constitution. 

He added that Lesufi had also told them that there was a forensic report that would allow for the government to put the municipality under administration. 

"If this section 139 is to be implemented, at least the current SMT (senior management team) should also be released from its responsibilities because it has failed to meet its financial obligations, that's what we are saying," said Mgcina. 

"We also want buildings to be safety compliant because they are not safe. We have learnt a sad lesson from what happened to municipal officers in Johannesburg. We don't want to be a repeat of that ugly picture," he said. 

The municipality has been struggling to pay salaries after it landed in financial trouble following its investment of over R70m in the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.

Workers are demanding a permanent solution to keep the municipality running. The situation has been worsened by concerns that more than 300 workers will not be paid again this month.

Read more on:    samwu  |  johannesburg  |  protests  |  service delivery
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