SAMWU Norther Cape post-Provincial Executive Committee statement

15 March 2021

SAMWU Norther Cape post-Provincial Executive Committee statement

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Northern Cape held a successful Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting from 11th to the 12th March in Kimberly. The PEC was convened to take stock of the work of the union and prepare the province for the upcoming SAMWU National Bargaining Conference which will be held from the 15th -17th March 2021.

The meeting takes place when the country is still facing the Coronavirus pandemic which has affected municipal workers and their families. We once again send our heartfelt condolences to workers and South Africans who have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic.

Of great concern to the union is that despite the pandemic claiming the lives of many workers, municipalities in the province have not come to the party in protecting and ensuring the health and safety of workers in the workplace.

Despite the hazardous risk faced by workers, some municipalities such as the Siyancuma Local Municipality have through the arrogance of their Municipal Manager not been giving workers the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that would enable them to safely execute their duties.

The union urges all workers to refuse to work if they have not been provided the necessary PPE for the safe execution of their duties. The health and safety of workers remain the responsibility of the employer and as such, workers’ health and safety cannot be compromised or negotiated, it’s a matter of implementation.

The PEC has further resolved that where violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act are identified, the union will be approaching the Equity Court wherein the Municipal Manager of the identified municipality will be the first respondent.

We will further be involving the Labour Department and roping our federation COSATU in ensuring that all municipalities and water boards in the province provide a healthy and safe working environment for all workers.

As SAMWU, we are concerned that municipalities are dragging their concluding or negotiating Covid allowance for workers in the province. This despite communique from the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) urging municipalities to meet with organnised labour to quantify the amount which should be given to workers.

In the same breath, we note and congratulate the Hantam Local Municipality for having have concluded a covid allowance for workers. We further urge all municipalities in the province to earnestly engage labour and conclude a covid allowance for workers.

The PEC expressed its serious concerns at the state of municipalities in the province, with many municipalities failing to convene Local Labour Forums (LLFs) as per the legal requirement that LLFs be convened on a monthly basis. Making things worse is that those municipalities who do convene their LLFs undermine workers by never implement resolutions taken in that platform.

LLFs are a mandatory forum which should be held on a monthly basis as per the Main Collective Agreement. In this regard we want to remind both the Management and Councillors of Ubuntu and Kareeberg Municipalities that Collective Bargaining has come as a result of blood sweat and tears. Comrades in the Congress Movement has paid their the price of the lives for these gains. It is a pity and a shame that we have to remind ANC deployees about the gains of the revolutionary movement of which COSATU is part of.

The PEC sends a strong warning to all municipalities such as Umsobomvu and Karoo Hoogland Municipality who think that they will hide corruption by silencing workers through cooked charges. SAMWU will continue exposing the rot that is in municipalities and will always demand that people be held personally responsible for looting the much-needed municipal resources.

Before we are municipal workers, we are community members and as such, we are interested in seeing municipalities that are free from corruption and deliver on their constitutional mandate.

The PEC is further concerned by the levels of union bashing in the province. We are not going to be silent when individuals such as the Mayor and Chiefwhip of Kareeberg decide on their own that they will be personally and actively de-campaigning SAMWU. These are individuals who do not want to see a strong and vibrant SAMWU in the province.

We therefore send a strong warning to these individuals, SAMWU will not be silenced or liquidated by them. We are further worried that the ANC is failing to reign in on their deployees who are hellbent on undermining workers’ rights to belong to a trade union in municipalities.

As the PEC, we are concerned that municipalities are still continuing with their thieving tendencies wherein they deduct money from workers’ salaries but never pay it over to third parties such as unions, medical aid, funeral policies and pension funds.

This practice is nothing but criminal, it is equal to pickpocketing workers leaving them with policies that lapse as a result of non-payment.

The PEC has therefore resolved that where a municipality fails to pay third parties in full and on time, criminal charges would be opened. We will immediately be acting on this resolution to ensure that all workers’ monies that are owed are immediately paid over.

We are also concerned by the strained relations between the union and the ANC in the province. This is further perpetuated by the failure or non-availability of the ANC when issues affecting workers should be addressed.

We can only conclude that the ANC does not take the union, its members and workers serious. Workers cannot only be needed when it is time for elections but when their issues need to be addressed, the ANC is nowhere to be found.

Issued by SAMWU Northern Cape

Lawrence Fernie
Provincial Secretary
071 889 2023


Thobeka Mthintelwa
Deputy Provincial Secretary
076 329 8860