24 February 2023
SAMWU calls for City of Tshwane to urgently install a government during this time of uncertainty times.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Gauteng Province has noted with concern the cold war that has erupted between political parties represented in the City of Tshwane over the calling of a Special Council to elect a new Executive Mayor following the resignation of Cllr Randal Williams. This was after the Speaker had issued a notice of a Special Council meeting scheduled for 28 February 2023. To serve their narrow political interest and consolidate power, the coalition partners are rushing the speaker to convene a meeting before the eminent collapse of the coalition.
It is well known that the Speaker maintained the 28 February 2023 date and the Coalition has since declared that they are going to deal with him for putting the coalition at risk. It is unfortunate that our own Councillors are no longer prioritizing residents of the City of Tshwane but are concerned with their own coalition arrangements and agreements. It is our firm view that the City is currently faced with great uncertainty and as such, political parties should be concerned with ensuring that resident and workers are assured that a government will be put in place to ensure continuity of services and stability.
SAMWU welcomes and support the decision of the City Manager, Johann Mettler in refusing to convene a Special Council meeting as dictated by the coalition. The Ekurhuleni experience has since cautioned Accounting Officers on interfering on Council matters. We commend the City Manager in maintaining his lane and in not allowing himself to be bullied and coerced by political parties in their battles. The City Manager remains an Accounting Officer and is in charge of administration and should not be brought into issues of legislature. The legal opinion sourced by the City has clarified how two decisions on the same should be processed.
Residents of the City of Tshwane deserve better services, we therefore call on political parties in Council to put aside their political differences and ensure stability of the City. The City has been through rough times since Cllr Williams ascended to the highest office and as such, we are appealing to the Council to work together in electing a capable Executive Mayor who will focus on revitalizing the City and not factional battles among coalition partners and other parties.
We have further noted the recent statement by the DA-lead coalition’s preferred candidate for the Executive Mayor of position in relation to the future of the only public and municipal owned Airport in the City of Tshwane. Mr Cilliers Brink, a current member of Parliament touted to be the next Mayor of the City has publicly announced that should he be elected Executive Mayor of the City, one of his first priorities would be selling the Wonderboom Airport, the only aviation asset of the City.
As SAMWU, be believe that Mr Brink is nakedly auditioning for the position of Executive Mayor at the expense of the City’s development goals, economic development and the livelihoods of workers. This pre-emptive announcement by Mr Brink is simply privatisation of municipal entities, a decision which as a union we are vehemently opposed to. The statement is unfortunate and premature noting that any intention to sell airport should be preceded by consultative process with labour and residents of the City of Tshwane.
To us, the necessary legal steps that should be taken before making such a decision will be a tick box exercise as Mr Brink has already made known his ill-intentions. We further place it on record that labour has never been consulted on any intention to change service delivery model and subsequently organizational structure of the City of Tshwane.
As SAMWU will not allow privatization of any municipal service and are prepared to fight against such intentions. We believe in developmental local government which should amongst other things use state resources to develop and better lives of residents. Research done on the airport has shown that there is greater potential of developing economic node around the airport. Instead of privatizing the only Airport in the Capital City, the City should be partnering with flight schools and flight carriers amongst other things to resuscitate the Airport.
For us, Mr Brink has by virtue of his intension to sell the soul and economic stimulus of the City, already disqualified himself as a capable and right person to rescue the City from the mess that has been left behind by his predecessor, Cllr Williams. During these difficult and trying times, we need individuals who will not further deteriorate the economic outlook of the City, but rather an individual who will ensure that the City is returned to its former glory.
Issued by SAMWU Gauteng Province
083 941 5888
Tshwane Deputy Regional Secretary
084 465 5598