31 October 2022
SAMWU welcomes the arrest of Municipal Manager by the Hawks for contravening Pensions Act.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes the arrest of Mr Johnny Mackay for contravening the Pension Funds Act during his time as the Municipal Manager at the Kai !Garib Local Municipality in the Northern Cape Province. The actions by Mr Mackay between September 2021 and March 2022, as the accounting officer of the Kai !Garib Local Municipality resulted in workers at the institution collectively losing almost R10 million, excluding potential interests accrual.
The fact that Mr Mackay was arrested after he left the municipality and joined the Northern Cape Provincial Government is a relief to us as workers that accounting officers will now not have anywhere to run to. As SAMWU, we have always argued that the failure by municipalities to pay statutory deductions not only prejudices municipal workers but is also a criminal act that should be prosecuted.
Many municipalities in the Free State, Northern Cape, and North West Provinces have made it a norm to deduct monies from workers’ salaries for deductions such as pension funds, medical aid, and funeral policies but that money never reaches the intended recipients. This has, in many cases resulted in many workers being denied medical attention, others not being able to bury their loved ones while others are unable to retire due to the arrears in their accounts.
We are particularly pleased that the country’s elite crime-busting unit the Hawks is the one leading this investigation. To us, this is an indication of the seriousness of this crime which, many accounting officers in the country continually commit with impunity. We, however, do not want to see this as an isolated prosecution, and as such, we encourage the Hawks to spread their investigations into all provinces, in particular the Free State, Northern Cape, and North West provinces as there are many municipalities in these provinces have made it a norm to pickpocket workers.
We call on all Municipal Managers throughout the country to learn from this development and immediately cease the temptation to short-change workers and immediately pay all statutory deductions which are in arrears. For SAMWU and its members, the prosecution of Mr Mackay gives us renewed strength and hope in the fight against this illegal act. It is for this reason, that the union will be approaching the Hawks with a list of all municipalities wherein workers’ pensions and medical aids are in arrears.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
(076 580 4029)
Northern Cape Provincial Secretary
(071 889 2023)
Deputy NC Provincial Secretary
(076 329 8860).