SAMWU Post Special CEC Statement

09 September 2019

SAMWU Post Special CEC Statement

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) held a successful Special Central Executive Committee (SCEC) on the 5th September 2019 at the Garden Court Hotel in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal.

The SCEC was convened in terms of Clause 9 of the union’s constitution, as continuation of work currently underway to rebuild and unite the union and lead it to the 12th National Congress as per resolutions of the April CEC held in Bloemfontein.

The SCEC observed a moment of silence in honour of Municipal Workers who lost their lives since the last CEC. The meeting further paid tribute to Municipal Workers who lost their lives while on duty, expressing the need for the employer to ensure that workers are safe all the time, in line with the labour laws of the country.

The meeting was held while our sister union the NUM was hosting their Special National Congress under the theme “Power of Unity”, also in Durban. The SCEC sent out well wishes to the NUM and further wished that they would conclude their Special National Congress more united as per their theme.

The SCEC expressed serious concern and condemnation at the Xenophobic attacks and the criminality targeted at our African Brothers and Sisters and their business establishments and those belonging to South Africans. The SCEC called on calm and restraint and further urged law enforcement agencies to up their game and ensure that law and order is returned in the affected areas. The meeting further sent condolences to the families of both South African and African nationals who lost their lives during this chaotic time.

The SCEC further expressed serious concern at economic recovery plan document released by the Finance Minster Tito Mboweni. The SCEC is of the view that this document offers false solutions for the current economic challenges facing the country. The document further proposes privatization or the handover of key government functions to the private sector, including the unbundling of Eskom and advocating that certain sectors be exempted from collective bargaining.

In line with our standing resolutions on the rejection of privatization, the SCEC has rejected this document and tasked the Union to join COSATU and other progressive forces in ensuring that the wishful thinking of Minister Mboweni remains that, a dream of his own as it does not address the needs of South African workers and citizens. We will not stand idle while the self-imposed “Super Ministry” of Finance seeks to erode and reverse the gains which have been made by workers, with some having have paid with their blood.

Road Towards the 12th National Congress

The meeting received an update on the work that has been done in rebuilding the union and preparations for the 12th National Congress. The SCEC confirmed that the SAMWU 12th National Congress will be held in Mahikeng, North West by March 2020.

The SCEC welcomed the report that Limpopo, North West and the Free State Provinces have concluded Shop Steward elections and will be concluding their Regional Shop Steward Councils (RSSCs) before the end of September.

Other provinces will be concluding their Shop Steward elections in the month of September and will immediately hold their RSSCs which will culminate in Provincial Congresses which are to be held in the month of November.
The SCEC congratulates all newly elected Shop Stewards and wished them well in their newly found responsibilities. We trust that they will assist the union in its rebuilding process and that in all they do, they will put the interest of members above everything else.

The meeting further received an update on the unity process facilitated by our federation, COSATU. The unity agreement which was signed by the all parties has since been made the order of court by agreement. National Office Bearers (NOBs) as elected in the April CEC will continue fulfilling their constitutional duties until the March 2020 National Congress.

The recently held COSATU CEC provided clarity on the misinformation and deliberate confusion on issue of leadership, an issue which was deliberately perpetuated with the aim of confusing the union’s structures and membership in general.

April CEC had elected the following comrades to lead the union until congress;

• John Dlamini, President
• Nelson Mokgotho, 1st Deputy President
• Pricilla Ntsuba, 2nd Deputy President
• Zukiswa Vezi, National Treasurer
• Koena Ramotlou, General Secretary
• Dumisane Magagula, Deputy General Secretary.

This SCEC expressed concern at the deliberate misinformation and tasked the NOBs to ensure that our members are clarified and taken into confidence in the affairs of the union. The SCEC further expressed concern at individuals who continue writing letters to structures of the union with the aim of deepening the confusion. The SCEC urges members to only recognize communication from the union’s Secretariat.

The SCEC has taken a dim view on continuous disruptions of the national union’s operations by workers who are agitated and instigated by a handful power hungry individuals. The SCEC therefore mandated the NOBs to ensure that there are no more disruptions at the union offices, so as to ensure that our fully paid-up and in good standing members receive uninterrupted quality service. After all, the union exists to ensure that our members are represented at all times without unnecessary interruptions.

Collective Bargaining

The SCEC has been made aware of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which has been signed by individuals purporting to be representing SAMWU and the City of Johannesburg. The SCEC is shocked that “class conscious” individuals would sign an agreement with the employer giving assurance that there would never be a strike in the workplace.

The SCEC considers the agreement non-binding to the union and as such supports the intentions by our members in the City of Johannesburg to declare a dispute over the MoU. We reaffirm that a strike is a constitutional right of workers and as such cannot be taken away from our members through the signing of MoUs. We therefore distance the union from this personal arrangement with the City of Johannesburg as it contradicts the prescripts of the Labour Relations Act and is not in the interest of municipal workers and our members in particular. We echo the sentiments of SAMWU Gauteng Province that in the 32 year history of this union, we have never entered into an agreement which commits us never to go on a strike.

We have further received information that the union’s Gauteng Provincial Secretary, Cde Bafana Zungu who is an employee of the City of Johannesburg has been served with an intention to suspend by the City because according to them he “embarrassed the City and its stakeholders” by releasing a statement in his capacity as the Provincial Secretary distancing the union from the illegal and unlawful MoU.

The SCEC stands fully behind the contents of the statement released by SAMWU Gauteng Province, the contents of that statement form part of the union’s resolutions and as such we do not expect any employer to victimize our members and elected leaders for clearly articulating the union’s resolutions.

We are well aware of well-orchestrated moves by municipalities which are led by the DA, in particular the City of Johannesburg to collapse collective bargaining. This issue has now become a class issue and a direct attack on municipal workers as the DA wants to remove all municipalities which they govern out of the auspices of the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

We will not allow the DA to erode the democratic gains which have been achieved by workers through sweat and blood. We will defend collective bargaining at all costs and vehemently oppose any move which seeks to withdraw municipalities from the SALGBC and SALGA.

The SCEC notes that the current salary and wage agreement with employer representative, SALGA and unions will lapse in less than a year. Salary and wage negotiations will therefore be commencing in the SALGBC from November.

We will therefore, be conducting extensive mandate taking exercise in preparation for the commencement of the negotiations. We urge our members to fully participate so to enable us to clearly put their demands on the negotiation table.
State of Municipalities

The SCEC is gravely concerned by the state of the country’s municipalities, the recently released Municipal Audit outcomes have painted a bleak picture for municipalities The Auditor General pointed out that this was the worst outcome in 15 years, with fruitless and wasteful expenditure rising to R1.3 billion while irregular expenditure stood at R20.2 billion.

Of great concern to us is that seemingly the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) which is supposed to be the general overseer of municipalities has turned a blind eye on workers, municipalities and citizens alike.

Despite our meeting with the Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy Minister Parks Tau soon after their appointments, the situation faced by municipalities and workers has deteriorated, with the Ministry claiming not to know the challenges confronting the two, with municipalities religiously failing to honour their contractual obligations towards workers by paying them in full and in time, including payments to 3rd parties.

The failure by municipalities properly account for public monies and failure to honour their contractual obligations with workers has now become a declaration of war against municipal workers, a war which municipal workers are ready and willing to fight as there is no one who has their interests and those of communities at heart.

We welcome Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) which will be held this week on the Municipal Audit Outcomes. We will be closely monitoring the hearing and would want to see people being held personally and criminally liable for their complicity and negligence in the failure of municipalities to properly account and the criminality which has turned municipalities into a breeding ground for corruption.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

Koena Ramotlou
General Secretary
(073 254 9394)


Dumisane Magagula
Deputy General Secretary
(084 806 4005)


Papikie Mohale
National Media Officer
(073 7100 356)