14 August 2023
SAMWU DEMANDS CITY OF TSHWANE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FAILING TO PROTECT WORKERS FOLLOWING THE SHOOTING AND HIJACKING OF EMPLOYEE AND MEMBER.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in Gauteng Province is devasted following the shooting of an employee and hijacking of municipal vehicle in Montana on Saturday evening. SAMWU can confirm that the employee who was shot and subsequently rushed to hospital is a member of the Union. The Union, its leadership and members wish the employee a speedy recovery.
Information received so far is that on Saturday, a team of employees from the Water and Sanitation were performing their duties when they were harassed by a group of individuals. Later that evening, the team leader who is an employee of the City and a member of SAMWU was accosted and shot at by individuals who robbed him of the municipal vehicle which he was in.
Following the incident, the City, through its Acting Head of Communication, Marketing and Events, Mr. Selby Bokaba, issued a scathing attack on behalf of the City Manager making serious and unfounded allegations that SAMWU and its members are responsible for this attack. Mr Bokaba proceeded to accuse the Union of having have degenerated into thuggery and criminality.
As SAMWU, we take exception to the accusations made by Mr. Bokaba on behalf of the City and the City Manager, Mr. Johann Mettler. As we said, the employees who were harassed and later shot are members of the Union. Our members have a great sense of solidarity, patriotism and will never attack fellow members, employees or members of the community. The Union and its members have nothing to benefit from this incident.
In its attempt to gain public sympathy, pit workers against each other and communities, the City, through Mr. Bokaba made serious allegations against the Union and its members. Mr. Bokaba further wanted to link this unfortunate and barbaric incident to a series of meetings which workers have had wherein they have been demanding the implementation of their 3.5% and 5.4% salary increases for the years 2021 and 2023 respectively.
The incident that occurred on Saturday night is not new to workers in Tshwane. These are the conditions which our members and municipal workers in the City of Tshwane are exposed to on a daily basis. We have reported to the City many incidents wherein workers were attacked, robbed and assaulted by criminals while they were on duty.
The City has continuously failed to ensure that employees are provided with a safe and healthy working environment in line with the Occupational health and Safety Act. Currently, there are many areas within the City which are no go areas for municipal workers. Despite our many interactions with the City, there has been no appetite on the part of the City to provide workers with a safe working environment.
The failure by the City to protect its employees while on duty has resulted in them being vulnerable and exposed. These workers who are the machines that keep Tshwane running and delivering services have been shown the middle finger by their employer that refuses to comply with binding collective agreements which the City is party to. These very same workers have been denied their 3.5% salary increase for the 2021/22 financial year and 5.4% for the current financial year.
SAMWU therefore demands the immediate retraction of the statement issued by Mr. Bokaba on behalf of Mr. Mettler and the City. We further demand that Mr. Bokaba and Mettler publicly apologise to municipal workers, SAMWU and its members for the unfounded allegations which they have made.
Additionally, SAMWU demands that the City takes responsibility for this incident and many others which we have reported without any action. We further demand that the City should, as dictated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act provide a working environment that is safe for workers.
Our members, and municipal workers in general remain committed to providing services to residents of Tshwane. The delivery of services can however not come at the cost of municipal workers’ lives. We once again wish speedy recovery our member and trust that the other employees will be provided with the necessary support by the City.
Issued by SAMWU Gauteng
083 941 5888
Tshwane Regional Secretary
072 601 8876