12 July 2019
COGTA has turned a blind eye on workers.
The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) notes with great infuriation and disappointment by the outcome of the budget vote presented by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Wednesday 10 July 2019.
In our disappointment we further condemn the failure by municipalities to spend the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) much to the detriment of infrastructure development, as in the last five years municipalities have consistently failed to spend the allocated funds in denying communities of much needed development and basic services, and in the same light also affecting municipal workers as they end up not having capacity to draw out their tasks.
As the South African Municipal Workers Union, we are still adamant in calling out corrupt municipalities, we believe that the root of the problem of missing funds in municipalities is because of the ever-increasing fraudulent outsourcing companies that are used by municipalities to enrich a few and sacrifice the majority. Outsourcing in our municipalities is one of the key strategies for weakening the municipal working structure.
Drawing on problematic municipalities, where over 30 municipalities in the country have failed to honour their contractual obligations with workers, by not paying them on time, and failing to pay their third parties. The minister has failed to speak of those municipalities which we find very disappointing, as this is a very crucial matter. We expected a substantive intervention from the budget. It is very disappointing to know that our government does not find municipal workers to be of importance.
Despite the leadership of SAMWU initiating a meeting with COGTA to highlight the plight of workers and municipalities, not even a single suggestion was raised in the budget vote. Unions are in the forefront on worker issues and have a significant insight of the problems that are faced by workers, we would have at least believed that the minister will take our suggestions into consideration and address the plight of workers.
Furthermore, in the address there was nothing noted in the betterment of municipal funding, and because of this we believe that COGTA is seemingly more interested in revenue collection, and not taking into account that some municipalities would not be able to meet these targets because they service poor areas whose residents just cannot afford these services which essentially means that they are excluded from receiving services.
Again, just like the SONA address presented by the president, Cyril Ramaphosa on the 20th of June 2019, there was nothing that addressed the plight of the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers. As SAMWU we have continuously expressed the unjust nature of EPWP workers, we remain opposed to the delivery of services through EPWP and similar programmes as they are exploitative in their nature, because the EPWP program is basically set to perform similar functions as those who are employed permanently and directly by municipalities while earning peanuts.
Seemingly COGTA has followed up the tone of President Ramaphosa in declaring war against municipal workers. The time is now for municipal workers to be mobilised against forces that infringe on the working class and the society in general.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
(082 486 9339)
Deputy General Secretary
(084 806 4005)