26 February 2018
SAMWU Welcomes Changes to National Executive
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes changes to the National Executive, by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 26 February 2018 Who put in place his first cabinet. In welcoming the changes we urge the President not to continually make changes to the Executive in order to dispense patronage as we had seen with the previous administration.
We believe that President Ramaphosa needs a strong team which would assist him in ensuring that they deliver on their mandate. We particularly welcome these changes as they would assist in reigniting the confidence that South Africans had in their democratic government, confidence which had evaporated in the last few years.
We also welcome the commitment for a reconfiguration of the number an size of cabinet which is undoubtedly bloated. We trust that this would be a step in the right direction in putting in place austerity measures which would enable government to redirect the much needed resources towards service delivery while ensuring that there is no duplication of functions. We however believe this is. Decision which should have been made when announcing these changes.
We welcome the reappointment and return of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, first on the agenda for Minister Nene should be ensuring that the Value Added Tax (VAT) increase from 14% to 15% is not implemented. The working poor just do not have the extra money and as such are unable to catch up with the forever rising cost of living. We also join calls for the expansion of zero rated VAT items, this expansion should include the daily needs of South Africans.
We urge the new Finance and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Ministers to work together in ensuring that municipalities are prioritized. We are of the view that municipalities should receive a fairer equitable share that would enable them to deliver quality services to South Africans. Municipalities are in the coalface of service delivery and as such they should be prioritized, government expenditure should be aligned with the needs of South Africans which are mostly at local level.
We further urge Minister Nene to resist the temptation of preempting the outcomes of salary and wage negotiations by wanting to impose an increment for government workers as the previous Minister attempted to while on the other hand attacking collective bargaining and workers’ rights. We trust that the Minister will allow the negotiations to conclude without any interference but only through agreements reached at bargaining councils.
We also take this opportunity to welcome Dr Zweli Mkhize as COGTA Minister. The reality is that Minister Mkhize inherits a dysfunctional department which presides over municipalities which have collapsed while others are non existent. We urge the Minister to urgently put in place a team which would as a mater of urgency attend to the challenges facing municipalities which includes management issues, failure to pay workers’ salaries on time, corruption and maladministration.
We look forward to meeting with Minister Mkhize on how municipalities can be strengthened to ensure that they continue with their constitutional mandate of delivering services to South African while also sorting out issues which they face on a daily basis.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
(079 887 8389)
Deputy General Secretary
(082 899 2169)
National Media Officer
(073 710 0356).