06 September 2022


Members of the media, welcome to the SAMWU briefing on the developments in the City of Johannesburg. We have called this briefing today as residents of the City and as workers who are responsible for service delivery to all. As a union, we are of the view that if the center does not hold within the administration, there are bound to be lapses in service delivery and good governance in the City.

1. On the removal of the Speaker of Council

As SAMWU, we note and welcome the decision by parties in the Council to pass a motion of no confidence in the Speaker, Cllr Vasco Da Gama. We are of the view that the motion of no confidence in the Speaker was actually a vote of no confidence in the DA-led coalition government. It is a pity that so far, only Cllr Da Gama has fallen on his sword, we would have loved to see many in the political administration of the City leaving based on the conditions which this coalition government has subjected workers to.

As has been said yesterday by the Acting Speaker of the City, the DA is indeed on its knees and has been humiliated by undermining other parties represented in Council, thinking that they are the Alpha and Omega of the City of Johannesburg. We want to make it categorically clear that as a workers’ organization, our primary preoccupation is not which political party leads the City but rather which one works for workers and residents alike.

We have noted further that there are talks amongst political parties to put forward a motion of no confidence in the Mayor, Cllr Mpho Phalatse. If us, as workers were allowed to vote, we would obviously vote out Cllr Phalatse as Mayor of this beautiful City of ours. We therefore, encourage all parties that have the interest of workers at heart to vote correctly and release workers of the chains which have been bound to them by the DA-led administration.

2. On the dismissal of 130 workers

We have noted with great concern the revelations by former Director in the Office of the City Manager, Mr Mesuli Mlandu who also acted as City Manager. Mr Mlandu has publicly announced that he was used by the City to dismiss over 130 employees and thereafter he was discarded by the DA. Firstly, we have no sympathy whatsoever for the situation in which Mr Mlandu finds himself in with the conniving DA-led administration. The DA is merely serving him the same medicine which he served the 130 employees when he decided to take a political decision to effect their dismissal.

As SAMWU, we are vindicated for our reaction to the dismissals for labelling them a political ploy aimed at ensuring that only DA loyalists and supporters are employed, leaving out qualified and competent young individuals who were equal to the task. The revelations by Mr Mlandu now strengthens our legal battle for the reinstatement of these workers. We are even more convinced that no Court in the land can rule against these employees.

The sad part about the dismissal of the employees is that Mr Mlandu and the DA have frustrated these workers to an extent that they could not even claim from the UIF after their dismissals. Officials in HR have indicated that they were instructed by the Office of the Mayor to not sign off on anything that has to do with these employees. This goes to show the extent that the DA would go in ensuring that young professionals and their dependents starve to death all because they are not seen to be cheerleaders of the DA.

After dismissing so many workers, the same person who was spearheading the dismissals now wants public sympathy and claiming to have been constructively dismissed by the same people who sent 130 employees and their dependents to hunger and starvation. It is a pity that instead of defending himself from the humiliation that will come when the 130 workers are vindicated or defending himself against the charges that have been levelled against him, Mr Mlandu has decided to resign. Someone needs to be held accountable for the inhumane treatment that these workers have been subjected to, history will forever judge Mr Mlandu for the treatment that he gave to these workers, all in the name of pleasing political masters.

3. On the illegal and irregular appointments in the City

Ironically, the same person who has paraded himself as a corruption buster has now been implicated in the irregular appointment of a high-ranking person, not once, but to two strategic positions within the City.

We have learnt through the grapevine that at the instruction of Mr Mlandu, minimum requirements for a certain Director within the City were relaxed to enable the individual to be employed. Mr Mlandu who was in the interview panel failed to disclose to fellow panellists that his relationship with the said individual goes many years back and is more than professional in nature.

To add salt to injury, the same individual was again preferred over other deserving candidates wherein the individual was given another senior position on a silver platter although the minimum requirements were not met. This coupled with the fact that the recipient of these positions has had their salary increased allegedly at the insistence of Mr Mlandu.

As SAMWU, we will be opening a criminal case against Mr Mlandu and his beneficiary for the money that has been spent irregularly on the appointments of this particular individual and the subsequent salary adjustments although the individual did not even qualify for them. According to the City’s Policies, salaries can only be negotiated up to a maximum of 10% of the entry level. In this case however, the individual’s salaries were increased by over 13% of the entry level amount.

It is our considered view that these ill-gotten increases should be returned back to the City’s coffers, this money should be recouped directly from Mr Mlandu, if needs be, the City should ensure that they attach his pension to ensure that the money goes back into service delivery. Failure to do so will result in such believing that even his so called claim of “constructive dismissal” is another political game he is playing with the DA to swindle City of Johannesburg out of hundreds of thousands of Rands in expected settlement.

4. On failure to implement Public Protector report on Cllr Tembe

In 2018, the Public Protector found that the appointment of the then Chief of Police was irregular and unlawful. The Public Protector based her findings on the basis that Mr Tembe is not qualified to lead the men and women in City of Johannesburg’s union form. These findings were further solidified by the PP’s conclusions that Mr Tembe and others unlawfully concluded or extended contracts that amounted to “gross improper prejudice to the public at large, finances of the CoJ and those whose potential service and job applicants who also qualified to be considered for these opportunities.”

The DA, then under Herman Mashaba in the City of Johannesburg failed to act on the findings of the public protector who amongst other things ordered that Mr Tembe pay pack over R5 million that he irregularly received from the City. Instead of acting, the DA reacted by claiming that the Public Protector’s report is private and confidential. This was for the first time that we as a union hear of public protector findings that are deemed to be private and confidential.

We are well aware that Mr Tembe has returned to the City, now as a Cllr for Action SA which is part of the DA-led coalition. Instead of recouping the money owed to the City by Cllr Tembe, the DA coalition government rewarded Cllr Tembe with an MMC of Public Safety position, meaning that he now oversees the very same department which he was found to be unqualified for.

We know for a fact that the DA will not act on the findings of the Public Protector because Cllr Tembe belongs to Action SA which is now an agent of the DA, keeping the DA in power within the City. If the DA was ethical as they always call themselves, they would have not allowed an individual who has adverse findings against them and owing millions to the City to be in charge of such an important portfolio. However, because the DA wants to be in power by all means necessary, they will not act against Cllr Tembe so not to offend the emotions of their partners in crime, Action SA.

As SAMWU, we remain steadfast on our commitment to seeing a City that is ethically run, a City that cares for its residents and workers. It is for this reasons that we make the following demands;

i. That all political parties represented in the City of Johannesburg should put aside their differences a form a coalition that cares for workers and residents.
ii. That the forth coming of no confidence against Cllr Phalatse as the Mayor should be passed.
iii. That the 130 dismissed employees be reinstated with immediate effect.
iv. That the City takes disciplinary action against Mr Mlandu even after his resignation.
v. That the irregular expenditure that has been incurred by the City through the acts of Mr Mlandu be recouped from him in his personal capacity.
vi. That Mr Mlandu be blacklisted by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as he has defrauded the City and fled in the wake of disciplinary action.
vii. That disciplinary action should be taken against the recipient of Mr Mlandu for falsification.
viii. That all monies that have been irregularly paid to the recipient be recouped.
ix. That the City of Johannesburg Council implements recommendations by the Public Protector against Cllr Tembe.

Issued by SAMWU Petrus Mashishi (Johannesburg) Region

Richard Moila
SAMWU Deputy Regional Secretary
073 1729 459


Ester Mtatyana
SAMWU Regional Chairperson
072 120 3484