SONA an Attack on Municipal Workers: SAMWU

20 June 2018

SONA an Attack on Municipal Workers: SAMWU

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes with disappointment comments made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in delivering his 3rd State of the Nation (SONA) address on the 20th of June 2019.

The President indicated the 6th administration plans to continue to use Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) in delivering services to South Africans. EPWP was introduced by government a few years ago as a poverty alleviation programme. This however has not fundamentally changed the lives of South Africans but rather has rendered them as cheap labour to municipalities.

SAMWU remains opposed to the delivery of services through EPWP and similar programmes as they are exploitative in nature. These are people who are performing the same functions as those who are employed permanently and directly by municipalities, they are rendering services which are permanent functions of municipalities.

Despite performing the same functions, they receive peanuts for doing the same job as their fellow municipal workers. The 11th SAMWU National Congress held in 2015 resolved that EPWP participants are municipal workers and as such, they should be permanently and directly by municipalities.

The use of this and similar programmes has resulted in municipalities not filling vacancies. Currently, municipal vacancies are at an alarmingly high rate of 38% despite some of these vacancies being funded. These funded vacancies form part of the coalface of service delivery yet they are not filled because government has found a source of cheap and easily disposable labour.

We had hoped that the President would announce steps in which government would tackle these exploitative programmes which have become conveyors and providers of cheap labour for municipalities.

We had further hope that the President would announce that government would be prioritizing municipalities and directing Treasury to ensure that Local Government receives a fairer equitable share which would address the challenges which municipalities face, challenges which are financial in nature.

We, therefore, consider this SONA an attack on the country’s municipal workers, consequently, municipal workers are preparing for war. We will further be mobilizing EPWP participants in demanding that the principle of equal work, equal pay in all municipalities.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

Koena Ramotlou,
General Secretary
(073 254 9394)


Dumisane Magagula,
Deputy General Secretary
(084 806 4005)