SAMWU Distances itself from MoU with City of Johannesburg

21 August 2019

SAMWU Distances itself from MoU with City of Johannesburg

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has noted with grave concern a purported Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the City of Johannesburg and individuals alleging to be representing the union.

We place it on record that SAMWU is not part and parcel to this MoU as it was signed by people who are not mandated to enter into any agreement on behalf of the union and as such this can be summed as an agreement between the City and the said individual, not the union and its membership within the City of Johannesburg.

We further place on record our dissatisfaction of the contents of the agreement in that it seeks to erode the democratic gains made by workers in particular the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

There is no agreement that can be reached between parties which can supercede the laws of the country and as such, we therefore consider the MoU as illegal and invalid. The letter and spirit of the MoU seeks to override the main collective agreement and the LRA, this coupled with the fact that individuals who committed the union to the MoU have no locus standi within the union.

We have no intentions of becoming a sweetheart union, we have never in the 32-year history of this union ever signed an agreement which commits us not to go on strike. A strike is a constitutional right of workers, a right which cannot be taken away by anyone through MoUs.

We have also noted with concern comments attributed to the City wherein they want the union to prove that the individuals whom they entered into this agreement with had no mandate to do so. The City is disingenuous in that they are well aware of the ruling of the Constitutional Court that confirmed that these individuals are not leaders of the union. This was an application which was taken to the courts by the City of Johannesburg.

The union is however not surprised that the DA-led administration continues to undermine unity and cohesion of workers. We are well aware that the national leadership of the DA was not happy with workers having gone on strike in the DA-led City of Tshwane, a strike which resulted in victory for workers.

It is public knowledge that the DA leadership scrambled to meet with the Mayor Steven Mokgalapa wherein he was chastised for having have acceded to the demands of workers.

We know the DA to be a liberal party which stands against workers’ rights, a political party which believes that these rights lean more towards workers and as such should be done away with.

We are therefore not surprised that this DA-led administration has derived means to ensure that workers in the City are divided and further take away the only tool which workers have in their hands, a strike action.

We know of well orchestrated moves by the DA to render the union useless in the City of Johannesburg and across all municipalities where they govern.

To this day, the City of Johannesburg is in contempt of court and refuses to pay over R30 million which is owed to the union, money which has been deducted from our members monthly but never finds its way to the union.

We know very well that the City is in financial crisis and uses this money to fund its operations. We will never allow the City to force our members to subsidize its operations.

We will therefore be speedily engaging our members on the reasons leading to them signing an agreement which seeks to erode and reverse the gains made by workers.

Ours is to strengthen and forge a united front in defending our members in the workplace. We will not allow the employer, in particular the City of Johannesburg and the DA to deliberately use the divide and conquer strategy in an attempt to sterilize the the union.

Issued by SAMWU Gauteng Province

Bafana Zungu
Provincial Secretary
(079 298 5577)


Annah Ntuli
Deputy Provincial Secretary
(082 653 6443)