SAMWU calls for immediate intervention at Ditsobotla Local Municipality which failed to pay workers their February salaries.

01 March 2023

SAMWU calls for immediate intervention at Ditsobotla Local Municipality which failed to pay workers their February salaries.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union is concerned by the North West based Ditsobotla Local Municipality which covers areas such as Coligny, Ga-Raphalane, Itsoseng and Lichtenburg to pay municipal workers their salaries for the month of February. Days after workers were supposed to be paid their salaries as per their contract of employment, there is still no indication by the employer as to when these employees will be receiving their salaries.

In an internal memo addressed to workers, less than 24 hours before they were supposed to receive their salaries, the municipality alerted workers that their salaries will be delayed. A second memo was issued on the 28th February, wherein the municipality informed workers that all its efforts of sourcing financial assistance to pay workers were in vain and as such, workers’ salaries remain unpaid with no estimated date on when these employees will be receiving their salaries.

As SAMWU, we have on numerous occasions highlighted the plight of workers whose salaries and third parties such as medical aids and pensions are not paid in time or in full. The municipality should be held liable for any costs and inconvenience that will come as a result of the non-payment of workers’ salaries on time. It is despicable and inhumane that the municipality waited a day before salaries were due to inform them of the late payment, taking away the option of workers to communicate with their creditors about the delay, resulting in workers incurring charges for failed debit orders.

In the last few years, the Ditsobotla Local Municipality has been in the media for all the wrong reasons, leading to the Provincial Government taking a decision to dissolve the municipality in line with Section 139 (1)(c) of the Constitution. As SAMWU, we had hoped that the dissolution and the subsequent bi-elections which elected a new Council would bring stability to the institution and that service delivery would be improved.

Our hopes, along with those of workers at the municipality are shuttered as the municipality has once again deteriorated to the state in which it finds itself in. To us, the failure by the municipality to honour their part of the contract that is in place with workers is symbolic of the failure of the intervention through Section 139 (1)(c). It is clear that the disillusion of the previous Council has not in any way addressed the root causes of the problems faced by the municipality.

As SAMWU, we are convinced that just like many of the country’s municipalities, the Ditsobotla’s problems are financial in nature, and as such, there is a greater need to ensure that municipalities are prioritised financially to enable them to continue delivering services to residents without fail. It is for this reason that when we responded to the recently presented budget speech, we expressed our dissatisfaction at the fact that the National Treasury has once again neglected municipalities and left them to fend for themselves.

The non-payment of salaries has a snowball effect on service delivery as workers cannot be expected to continue reporting for duty without money to do so, and worse on an empty stomach. The silence by the North West Premier, Provincial Treasury, and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on this injustice leaves much to be desired. This leaves us to make a conclusion that the Provincial Government is comfortable with workers and their family members going to bed hungry while community members are deprived of services.

As SAMWU, we call on the North West Provincial Government to immediately intervene in the municipality as empowered by the Constitution and salvage whatever is left of the municipality. We further call on the National Treasury and government in general to seriously consider the injustices that are done to both workers are residents as a result of the unfair and unjust equitable share allocated to municipalities. It is our firm view that municipalities as they are in the coalface of service delivery should be prioritised in the budgetary process to ensure that all South Africans receive the services which they so desperately desire.

In the meantime, and while awaiting the intervention by the Provincial Government workers will be waiting peacefully at the premises of the municipality until such time that their salaries are paid in full and third party deductions are up to date.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

Dumisane Magagula
General Secretary
076 580 4029


Vincent Diphoko
North West Provincial Secretary
083 580 8815