SAMWU Statement on the Dysfunctionality of City of Cape Town Fire Department

05 October 2018

SAMWU Statement on the Dysfunctionality of City of Cape Town Fire Department

The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in the Western Cape condemn the actions and threats of the DA-led City of Cape Town which is systematically targeted at our members.

Since 2007 SAMWU has in the interest of its members been attempting to conclude a fire service agreement with City of Cape Town yet as a result of the attitude of the City there has been very little progress on this issue. This has resulted in low staff morale in the department as workers are not being taken seriously and their interests not been taken care of.

In recent years we experience the loss of life amongst fire fighters due to long working hours. The recent and unfortunate incident in Johannesburg wherein workers lost their lives should serve as a lesson for all municipalities that Firefighters need to be capacitated and that fire departments need to be strengthened so to avoid further loss of life.

Instead of addressing the issues raised by workers, the City of Cape Town has instead resorted to intimidating and threatening workers with legal action for demanding that the City complies with the country’s labour laws as enshrined in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Seemingly the City of Cape Town is determined to frustrate Firefighters at the expense of service delivery to the people of Cape Town. In 2012, an agreement was reached with municipal management that a 5% increment will be advanced to Firefighters, yet the DA-led council has to this day failed to implement this agreement at the frustration of workers.

We have on numerous occasions told the City that Vacancies should be filled because Firefighter are often instructed to work long hour and additional hour of overtime due to low staff number in the CoCT Fire and Rescue Services. This on its own has a potential of bringing workers in harm’s way as they are overworked and underpaid. If anything was to happen to any of the Firefighters, the City should be held solely responsible.

True to their character and nature, this DA-led administration has failed to transform the Fire and Rescue Services Department by not implementing its own Employment Equity plan. The CoCT has further removed the clause in the fire fighters conditions that relates to a rotation system to benefit a few privileged and deny others the right of progression.

It has become clear that the DA policy is to protect senior male mangers by the introduction of IPM systems and yet firefighter who often sacrifice their lives are ignored in the IPM policies. The DA council further advances criteria within the fire services that remains discriminatory including hours of work and for fair compensation.

Issued by SAMWU Western Cape

Sidney Flusk
Provincial Secretary
079 939 1506