25 October 2017
SAMWU Reaction to MTBPS
The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) notes the maiden Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement as presented by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on the 25th October 2017. As we expected, the economic outlook has been revised to from 1.3% to 0.7% which can only mean that the working class are facing a bleak future, this is coupled with the country’s high level of unemployment which now stands at a staggering 27%.
The time is now for the government to implement policies which aim to ensure that the economy grows, creates employment for South Africans while ensuring that service delivery is prioritized. Although the Minister has committed to allocating a two third of the budget to social expenditure, SAMWU has a few reservations and issues which make municipal workers uncomfortable with the budget as presented.
We note with great concern pronouncements by the Minister that government intends on selling their shares in Telkom albeit with the option of buying back the shares at a later stage. Essentially the Minister is telling us that government will be seeking a loan to continue with operations, as logic would dictates that the buy-back option will incur interest which would have to be paid at the expense of taxpayers.
Guided by our Egoli 2000 and anti-privatization campaign, SAMWU is vehemently opposed to the plan by the government to sell its shares of Telkom. Telkom is one of the best state assets which has been performing better and as such it does not make sense that anyone would even think of selling. SAMWU remains opposed to the privatization of state assets, we are of the view that instead of the sale, government should be speaking of strengthening governance mechanisms at all state owned entities.
As one of the largest stakeholders in Local Government, we are disappointed that municipalities have once again received an unfair share of the division of the revenue. Once again municipalities are expected to deliver services to almost 60 million South Africans with a shoe-string budget of less than 10% of government expenditure.
SAMWU is of the view that municipalities should have been prioritized with a greater share of the division of revenue to support the interest of service delivery. We are convinced that the financial difficulties that municipalities find themselves in are as a result of the unfair and unjust allocation of government resources.
Our members are community members before they are workers and as such they are affected by the challenges which their communities face.
As both matriculants and university students are writing their final exams, anxiety has been intentionally created by the failure to release the Fees Commission Report. We are very disappointed that the Minister has not called on the immediate release of the report so that Treasury could be better placed to accurately budget for the realization of free, quality and decolonized tertiary education particularly for the poor.
The Minister of Finance as the custodian of State Owned Entities has also failed to condemn the ridiculous and unjustified tariff hike request by Eskom. SAMWU maintains that the request is unjustifiable and remains unaffordable to ordinary South Africans as this will also have consequential increases such as food and transport.
The failure by the Minister to demand the immediate release of the report further adds on the frustration of both students and the working class as they are uncertain of the possibility of admission or continuation of studying at institutions of higher learning.
Municipal workers are the least paid government employees, we are very concerned that the failure to release the report puts municipal workers and their dependents in a precarious position. Municipal workers, therefore, call for the immediate release of the Fees Commission Report.
We are further disappointed that the MTBPS has not made provisions for the salary and wage negotiation between employers and organized labour in all three spheres of government are already in advanced stages, unless the Minister intends on telling government employees in all spheres of government to take a salary cut, essentially leaving employees to subsidize the employers.
As we prepare for our salary and wage negotiations with the South African Local Government Association through our bargaining council, SAMWU is not prepared to allow our members to take a salary cut of any sort, we in fact will fight tooth and nail to ensure that our members get increases which have material impact on their lives.
Municipal workers are frustrated by the fact that for a very long time municipalities have been treated as though they are junior partners of government. We are of the view that municipal workers are at the coalface of service delivery and as such they should be better remunerated for the great work they do in ensuring that South African enjoy the fruits of freedom through the delivery of basic services.
We therefore pledge our commitment to ensure that municipal workers get salary and wage increases which they deserve, a commitment which we will not compromise.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
079 887 8389
Deputy General Secretary
083 946 3391
National Media Officer
073 710 0356