MM’s resignation a blessing for George Municipality.

28 June 2024

MM’s resignation a blessing for George Municipality.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is not surprised with the departure and resignation of the Municipal Manager (Dr Michel Gratz) as we have been consistent that her administration is not good for George Municipality. Her autocratic management style would not have lasted as she was reluctant to foster healthy labour relations with the unions, particularly SAMWU.

SAMWU was not confused when they made the commitment to declare George Municipality a special project. We have a sterling track record of fighting for injustice and practices of maladministration. This passion was driven by the vindictive and wrongful purging of our workers and staff members in general. Even with her departure, SAMWU strongly believes that she must be held accountable for destroying the lives of innocent workers. Workers have been living in fear and some opted to resign through indefinite purging.

The MM (Dr Michel Gratz) must still account for the fruitless and wasteful expenditure that is linked to cases that were taken on review, wasting ratepayers’ money even when there’s no merits or prospects of success. She was challenging sanctions of disciplinary outcomes and arbitration awards that are not in accordance with her wishes of dismissing people of colour at a very fast pace environment. She has embarked on an uncompromising attack on Directors of colour upon arrival. SAMWU is delighted with the departure of the MM and her cronies and wished them well with their future endeavours.

SAMWU is further demanding that contract of service providers that were appointed during her tenure as MM to be reviewed, an investigation be conducted pertaining to the internal investigation unit of the Auditing Section, immediate dismantling and dismissal of a “so called” forensic investigator called Smart Ryk Consultants and cabal who was unlawfully appointed to target certain staff members as part of their hit list, reviewing of all disciplinary cases investigated under the mandate of Dr Michel Gratz as we believe these matters had an undertone of malicious, frivolous and vexatious nature. This MM has caused a damage that is irreparable for the George Municipality.

We have also embarked on a process that seeks to justify how EPWP workers have been exploited in various departments performing core functions with slavery wages and demand for permanent employment of these employees. SAMWU is busy collecting this information to justify what we have consistently raised on the abuse of EPWP employees by various directorates. This former MM still has a lot to answer to, including those who colluded with her, and she cannot be left off the hook so easily. We (SAMWU) also hope there will be an end to the long indigent lines at the Finance: Credit Control Section and Area Offices based on the strict Indigent and Credit Control Policies resulting in electricity blockages being a basic right of communities and households. Indigent funds are meant to subsidize poor households with their basic services and not to punish or force them to pay for municipal services they cannot afford.

Lastly, SAMWU demand for the Legal and Compliance Section to be investigated for fruitless and wasteful expenditure by paying for all those frivolous cases that were taken on review and halfway through withdrawn and settled without any justifiable explanation. Why were these matters taken on review in the first instance? The Legal and Compliance Section must be coerced into providing an immediate detailed report of all matters taken on review and those withdrawn after lawyers were paid a lot of money that must be accounted for. The disciplinary actions against the Head of Legal and Compliance must be pursued following SAMWU’s appeal lodged with the Former Mayor ( Alderman Leon Van Wyk) who we believed was protecting both the MM and Head of Legal and Compliance Services. According to the George Council the last day of work for the MM (Dr Gratz) Director: Planning & Human Settlement (Ms Lauren Waring) is Friday, 28th June 2024.

Issued by SAMWU Western Cape
John Mcanjana,
Provincial Secretary
(073 644 9580 / 064 628 0000)