SAMWU Memorandum of Demands to City of Johannesburg

17 October 2019

SAMWU Memorandum of Demands to City of Johannesburg

We are workers employed by the City of Johannesburg and members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU).

We have noticed that since this administration came into office in 2016, there have been attempts by the City and its management to cause divisions amongst workers, in particular using the divide and conquer strategy within SAMWU.

To this effect, the City under the watchful eye of Mayor Herman Mashaba has sought to divide the union, collapse collective bargaining and further entered into illegal agreements without our consent.

As employees of the City, we therefore deliverer this memorandum of demands which requires the City’s immediate implementation.

1. Interference in Union Affairs

Since this administration came to power through the back door, there have been deliberate attempts by the City and its management to cripple and render the union dysfunctional.

The City has wasted money that could have been used for service delivery to take the union to court in an attempt to install people whom they have captured to do their bidding in the City.

We know that it is in the interest of the City to see a SAMWU that is weak and on its knees. To date, the City is in contempt of court and continues to do so because of their quest to liquidate SAMWU. Today that stops!

We therefore demand that:

1. The City should abide by the Constitutional Court ruling confirming union leadership.
2. The City to stop interfering in the affairs of the union.
3. The City should stop capturing leaders of the union.
4. That those City employees who took decisions to take the union to court should personally pay back the costs incurred by the City.

2. Theft of Workers’ Money

In an attempt to ensure that the union is not functioning in the City, management in cohorts with those whom they have captured took a decision to cripple the union financially by deducting money from workers’ salaries but not paying it over to the union.

The City fraudulently took a decision to create a suspense account in which monies deducted from workers would be kept.

The suspense account however became a slush fund for dismissed members of the union to fund their flashy lifestyles at the expense of workers.

To this day, under the watchful eye of Herman Mashaba and the City Manager, over R19 millions of workers’ money has been stolen by the dismissed members.

We therefore demand that;

1. The City should account on how they were complicit in the theft of workers’ money.
2. All monies held in suspense account be immediately be transferred to the union’s national bank account.
3. That the City should henceforth not hold monies of workers in suspense account.
4. That disciplinary and criminal proceedings be instituted against those City employees who took a decision to put workers’ money in a suspense account.
5. The City should comply with the Special Audit which we will be requesting from the Auditor General.

3. Memorandum of Understanding

It has come to our attention that there is a Memorandum of Understanding which has been signed between the City of Johannesburg, Paul Thlabane and Vuyani Singonzo.

We put on record that this agreement was not properly processed by union structures, workers were never consulted on its contents and consequences thereof.

We will never agree to an agreement which goes against the spirit and letter of the country’s constitution and its labour laws. We have never seen an agreement which commits a union to never go on strike.

It has also come to our attention that the union’s Provincial Secretary, Bafana Zungu who is also an employee of the City has been suspended by the employer because according to them, he has embarrassed the employer when he, in his capacity as Provincial Secretary released a statement distancing the union from this illegal and invalid memorandum of understanding.

We consider this to be a memorandum of understanding between the City, Paul and Vuyani and as such it is not binding to us workers of the City and the union.

We therefore demand that:

1. Our disassociation with the MoU be recorded.
2. That the MoU be nullified and invalidated.
3. Disciplinary action be taken against those who signed the MoU purporting to be representing the union.
4. The suspension of Bafana Zungu be reversed with immediate effect as he was articulating union resolutions.

4. Non-Seating of LLFs

This administration has been hellbent on ensuring that there is no labour stability within the workplace. This they have successfully done partly because they have been complicit in destabilizing the union the City.

The City has failed to ensure that Local Labour Forums are held despite the challenges that workers are facing in the workplace.

We therefore demand that;

1. The City should commit to ensuring that there are sound labour relations between the City and organized labour.
2. That the City immediately convene Local Labour Forum to deal with issues faced by workers in the workplace.

5. Suspensions of workers

When Herman Mashaba came into office in 2016, he paraded himself as a corruption buster, claiming that he will rid the City of corruption.

We place in on record that as a trade union, we are interested in seeing this City free from corruption and maladministration.

We are however concerned that Herman Mashaba has been prosecuting workers in the media without any evidence. This has tarnished the image and reputation of workers while some have been placed on long suspensions without any disciplinary hearing held, this in contravention of the Disciplinary Code of Conduct.

We therefore demand that;

1. All workers who have been placed on long suspensions be reinstated immediately.
2. That Herman Mashaba should stop accusing and prosecuting workers through the media.

6. Plight of Insourced Workers

We welcome the decision by the City to insource security and cleaning staff. We have long called for the insourcing of all contracted workers in the City and an end to the tendering and contracting systems as a means to deliver services to the residents of Johannesburg.

We have however noted that the decision to insource these workers was not sincere but rather a political trick by Herman Mashaba and his political allies to play to the gallery, politicking with the emotions and livelihoods of the poor who they claim to represent.

The City has divided cleaning staff into two groupings assigned to four hour shifts. This has automatically reduced the wages of these workers as the City is paying them hourly rates.

Insourced security staff are the worst affected as they are working 72 hours a week but only being remunerated for only 48 hours. They have had their benefits deferred with the City having not committed on when their benefits will be paid.

We therefore demand that;

1. Insourced workers should not be treated differently from other employees of the City.
2. All cleaning staff be placed on an 8 hour shift.
3. Immediate payment of benefits owed to security workers.
4. That all security staff work 48 hours a week, anything over and above that be considered overtime in terms of the country’s labour laws.

7. Collective bargaining

We have noted with serious concern that the City of Johannesburg along with municipalities which are governed by the Democratic Alliance have launched a targeted offensive against workers and trade unions in particular.

We are not surprised by this liberal approach by the DA which seeks to ensure that wherever they govern, trade union power is evaporated to ensure that they do as they please.

To this effect, the DA in the City of Johannesburg has been trying to collapse collective bargaining with threats of withdrawing from the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC).

We therefore demand that;

1. The City should immediately pay over subscriptions to SALGA.
2. That the City should affirm its membership to SALGA.
3. That the City should reaffirm that it remains a member of SALBGC.
4. The City to, in the interest of service delivery desist from seeking to collapse collective bargaining.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

Koena Ramotlou,
General Secretary
(073 254 9394),


Dumisane Magagula,
Deputy General Secretary
(084 806 4005)


Papikie Mohale,
National Media Officer
(073 710 0356)