SAMWU cautions against the use of convicted criminals to deliver services in the City of Msunduzi.

08 April 2021

SAMWU cautions against the use of convicted criminals to deliver services in the City of Msunduzi.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the KwaZulu Natal Province has learnt with great anger of an evil and apartheid-like agreement between the City of Msunduzi and the Department of Correctional services. Under the agreement, convicted criminals will be given to the City to deliver services.

According to the agreement, the convicted criminals will be responsible for street cleaning, grass cutting in parks and cemeteries and the painting of municipal owned buildings, including servicing of the municipality’s fleet.

As SAMWU, we are infuriated because the above-mentioned services are the core function of municipalities. It is people who are permanently and directly employed by municipalities who are supposed to be rendering these services.

By looking at the state of decay that the City is currently in, one can but only conclude that the City has run out of ideas in running a proper government which is able to deliver services to its residents.

As SAMWU, we are concerned that this agreement is nothing but an attempt by the City to procure free and cheap labour wherever it can. In fact, we are of the view that this agreement is not in the interest of promoting or improving service delivery but rather to condemn the inmates to slavery.

This agreement should be considered as such; slavery of a special kind. The City has already indicated that they will be getting these inmates to do the work for free, with no payment whatsoever.

We are further worried that despite the high levels of unemployment in the City and instead of playing a positive role of promoting local economic development and hiring people directly and permanently, the City has resorted to condemning people to slavery while in the process violating their human rights.

In addition to slavery and human rights violation, we are convinced that this agreement will also put the lives of residents at risk as this will present a greater chance for the inmate to escape while in the field.

Our considered view is that this apartheid style agreement is similar to the delivery of services through programmes such as the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the Community Works Programme (CWP) which are exploitative in nature and serves as a conveyor belt for cheap labour to municipalities.

We therefore call on the City to renege from this ill-conceived agreement. In the interest of service delivery, we further call on the municipality to rather fill the vacancies that are at an alarmingly high rate.

Should the City continue with this agreement, we will be left with no option but to mobilize residents of the City to go and demand permanent employment from the City.

Issued by SAMWU KZN

Nokubonga Dinga
Provincial Secretary
(065 871 8434)


Xolani Shinga
Deputy Provincial Secretary
(081 852 1821)


Linda Gcabashe
Regional Secretary
(082 070 4893)