11 October 2022
SAMWU enraged by IFP turning municipalities into the party’s employment agency
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the KZN province has learnt with great shock and anger comments made by Speaker of the Abaqulusi Local Municipality and IFP Zululand District Chairperson Michel Mkhonyovu Khumalo during what appears to be a funeral ceremony. During the event Cllr Khumalo tells mourners that each family in the area should provide him with a name of an individual to be employed at the IFP-led Abaqulusi Local Municipality, to which the audience bursts into applause.
As SAMWU, we always celebrate when municipalities employ people on a permanent basis, we in fact advocate for municipalities to play their role in promoting local economic development and reducing the country’s high levels of unemployment. We however take issue with the pronouncements by Cllr Khumalo as he is not an employing authority in the municipality. We are of the view that all vacancies in municipalities should be filled by competent individuals who are recruited in a fair and transparent manner.
Cllr Khumalo does not have the power to create vacancies out of nowhere and fill them without following the recruitment processes of the municipality. To the agitation of the union, municipal workers and unemployed people under the jurisdiction of the municipality, Cllr Khumalo went as far as promising mourners that should there be no vacancy in the municipality, he will ensure that those who are members of the ANC are fired and replaced by IFP members.
SAMWU has surmised Cllr Khumalo’s remarks as turning the Abaqulusi Local Municipality into an employment agency of the IFP. Not only is this promise made illegal but equally is a political purging of municipal workers. We cannot allow a situation wherein municipal workers are forced to belong to a particular party to ensure that they are employed or keep their employment.
Cllr Khumalo went as far as telling mourners that he will personally direct the Municipal Manager to fire certain individuals and point out who should be fired. Again, Cllr Khumalo does not have powers to give instructions to the Municipal Manager. These comments by Cllr Khumalo are clear indications of how municipalities have been factionalized along political lines. We reiterate our stance that only competent and deserving individuals should be appointed in municipalities following recruitment processes. It is clear to us that Cllr Khumalo does not know the limits and powers of his office.
As SAMWU, we will be laying a complaint with the Public Protector against Cllr Khumalo for his comments which to us constitutes an abuse of power, failure to adhere to the separations of powers between the Council and the administration and the last complaint being a violation of human rights and freedom of association. We will further monitor developments at the municipality to ensure that no employees are sacrificed by Cllr Khumalo and that his attempt to turn the municipality into an employment agency of the IFP fails.
We further call on the IFP in the province to distance themselves from Cllr Khumalo’s remarks and subject him to a disciplinary process. Failure by the IFP to reign down on Cllr Khumalo will leave us with no option but to believe that indeed municipalities that are governed by the IFP in the province have been turned into employment agencies of the party. The Abaqulusi Local Municipality’s Council should also play their part in holding Cllr Khumalo to account for his comments which have brought the institution into disrepute.
Issued by SAMWU KZN
065 871 8434
Deputy Provincial Secretary
081 852 1821