SAMWU Demands Safety and Security of Municipal Workers in the Workplace

20 June 2019

SAMWU Demands Safety and Security of Municipal Workers in the Workplace

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is greatly concerned by the lack of safety and security for municipal workers while on duty. This follows an incident on the 14th June when a 64-year-old employee of the eThekwini Municipality from the Parks, Recreation and Culture was raped and robbed while performing public toilet cleaning duties in Tongaat.

It is shameful that an employee who was providing a clean, healthy and safe environment for residents was targeted and violated on municipal property. It further adds to the pain and suffering that employee went through that the eThekwini Metro took over 48 hours to assist the employee in getting medical assistance and reporting an injury on duty case. This is a clear indication that the employer takes the lives of municipal workers for granted and cheap.

Municipal workers as the first responders and faces of basic service delivery to residents have put residents first to ensure that they receive the basic services required. The quest by municipal workers to improve the living conditions of South Africans has, however, has resulted in unfortunate and evil instances where workers are attacked while on duty.

The trend of attacking workers on duty has now become a cause for concern and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We have noted with concern the increase in trends wherein EMS employees have been attacked while responding to legitimate emergencies and hoaxes intended to lure workers to be attacked and robbed of their personal belongings and medical equipment.

Section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act clearly dictates that the employer is obligated to provide and maintain a workplace that is safe and without risk to the safety of their employees. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the employer to ensure that workers are safe and secure at all times in the workplace. The safety and security of workers is however non-existent and has been neglected by the employer, thus leaving workers vulnerable and easy targets for criminals and rapists.

Municipal workers who are in the coalface of service delivery are expected to render services in unsafe and insecure environments while Councillors and Mayors are enjoying the comfort of safety and security in the form of bodyguards and Metro Police escorts. Earlier on this month, two Metro Police officers in KZN were brutally killed while providing guarding services to a Councillor.

SAMWU, therefore, demands that municipalities ensure and prioritize the safety and security of municipal workers in the workplace. The continuous failure by municipalities to ensure the safety and security of workers will result in workers abandoning their duties, to the detriment of service delivery.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

Koena Ramotlou
General Secretary
(073 254 9394)


Dumisane Magagula
Deputy General Secretary
(084 806 4005)