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SAMWU Statement on City of Johannesburg

15 June 2018 / Press Statement

The following statement was released by the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) Greater Johannesburg Region on the situation at the City of Johannesburg during a media briefing held on the 15th June 2018 at the union’s head offices in Johannesburg. 

1. COJ’s financial crises leading to funding of projects with union money 

To date SAMWU members’ subscriptions is withheld by the City, even though, as per their own acknowledgement (on several media statements in 2017), that pending a declaration on the issue of factions or legitimacy of leaders has been handed down by the Labour Appeal Court (31 May 2018) they would resume amicable relations with the union. As the incumbent leadership of SAMWU, the City is obligated to take instruction from us as representatives of our members. Yet, so far CoJ is still acknowledging the expelled members in for example the Local Labour Forums, and thereby promoting factionalism amongst union members. The Court judgement has reminded the City to abstain from interfering in union business, as it’s not their jurisdiction. 

It has come to our attention though, that the subscription fees purported to be held in a suspense account has actually been utilized by the City of JHB for their own projects, unknown by the union. This is tantamount to fraud, as the City has no authority to use union members’ moneys. 

2. COJ is bargaining in bad faith and its compliance failures 

The Main Collective Agreement stipulates that collective bargaining at a divisional level should be convened amongst SAMWU, IMATU and SALGA. At this level the aim is to minimize labour disputes and promote labour peace within the workplace. Policies and conditions of services at a local municipal level are discussed and agreed on to optimize internal controls and processes. These processes regulate how workers and management should work seamlessly in ensuring that systems and procedures work for: 

a. maximum performance management of employees and the b. effective delivery of services to communities. 

But currently, City of JHB only participates at these forums for compliance sake....ie: to tick a box that it’s done. There is no meaningful engagement to forge implementation of proper conditions of service and regulating policies.

3. Corruption in the City through attorneys and consultants

Outsourcing of work ordinarily expected to be done by management (as per their job descriptions and the disciplinary code) takes copious amounts of money from the City coffers. The City has got the staff capacity to deal with disciplinary matters internally, but yet outsource the function to the financial detriment of this World Class African City. Consultants’ services are a duplication of work done by staff, and render workers’ redundant. SAMWU has provided numerous files for investigation on related matters as above, without receiving any feedback or progress reports on such.

4. Anti-worker and anti-union stance by the administration

The City of JHB (again as a World Class African City) promotes whistle blowing in order to uproot fraud and corruption. The union in the region also encourages and reports incidences where fraud and corruption is uncovered. But to date the City has not taken up any of the workers’ reports. Instead, Mayor Mashaba unjustly persecutes ordinary workers’ for the corruptive activities of their political appointees. The City, thus is in violation of the Protected Disclosures Act (a.k.a Whistleblowers Act), and the PAJA (Promotion of Administrative Justice Act).

Therefor it’s clear that the City of JHB is not in agreement with the union on uprooting corruption legitimately so. And under the guise of change, is persecuting ordinary hardworking members of SAMWU without respecting their right as protected under abovementioned Acts.

5. The recurring billing crises

The perpetuation of vacant posts at a strategic level leaves the City’s systems vulnerable to ineffectiveness. And again, the system is managed by consultants, which creates a disc onnect between management and end users. The system is unable to address real time problems, resulting in consumers crying foul daily. The performance management value chain becomes strained and at times broken, and undeserved blame is laid at the feet of ordinary workers.

6. Metrobus Strike

We put to the employer that safety to our members is paramount and SAMWU is ready to bargain in the interest of workers’ demands and commuters.

COJ workers and public are organizing to revolt against the arrogant employer in this municipality.

Issued by SAMWU Johannesburg Region Greater
Bafana ZunguRegional Secretary, 0836153571