The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes the Cabinet as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 29th May. We particularly welcome the decision by the President to heed calls from all corners of South Africa by reducing the Cabinet size from 36 to 28.
We also welcome the incisiveness of the Cabinet in terms of gender and generational mix. As the President correctly said, this is the first time that women make up 50% Cabinet of composition. This is a clear indication of the faith that the President has in women leadership and that of young people.
We further welcome the commitment by the President that he will be signing performance agreements with all Ministers. We believe that Ministers should be held accountable for failure to deliver on priorities of government and as such, this performance agreements should be used as a tool in quantifying their performance or failure thereof.
SAMWU in particular congratulates and welcome the appointment of Minister Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma and her deputies, Parks Tau and Obed Bapela in the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Department. We believe that the inclusion of Parks Tau who is a former City of Johannesburg Mayor will add value to the department as municipalities are collapsing without being provided with the necessary attention and support they so much need from the national government.
First on the agenda of COGTA should be to ensure that the department intervenes in Amahlathi Municipality in the Eastern Cape which has written to workers informing them that they will not be paid their salaries for May and June, indicating that the next time municipal workers receive their salaries will be the end of July 2019. Essentially the municipality is requesting workers to render their labour for two months without pay.
The non-payment of salaries in full and on time is one of the challenges faced by municipal workers on the 25th of every month. We want the department to ensure that people are held liable for not paying municipal workers on time, while third parties such as medical aid, pension funds and funeral policies are months in arrears.
We are interested in seeing municipalities which are functional and fulfilling their constitutional mandate of delivering services to South Africans. We will, therefore, be writing to the new Minister seeking a meeting on the state of the country’s municipalities and providing solutions on how they can be salvaged in the interest of service delivery for all South Africans.
We will also be seeking a meeting with both COGTA and the new Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni before he begins to draft the budget to ensure that municipalities are prioritized in terms of equitable share. Municipalities are expected to deliver services to almost 60 million South Africans on less than 10% of government expenditure. This has resulted in the challenges which we see in municipalities, challenges which are financial in nature.
We will further be urging the department to ensure that municipalities no longer deliver services using programmes such as Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and tenders for functions which are competencies of municipalities. We want municipalities to employ people permanently are direct without using such programmes as they are exploitative in nature and do not fundamentally change the lives of EPWP participants who are performing the same functions as those permanently employed by municipalities.
We wish all Ministers and their deputies well in their newly found responsibilities. The expectations from South Africans are huge, we, however, believe that the men and women appointed by the President are equal to the task. South Africans want to see fundamental changes in their lives, they want to see a government that works and delivers services.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Koena Ramotlou, General Secretary (073 254 9394) Dumisane Magagula, Deputy General Secretary (084 806 8105) or Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 710 0356)