The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Eastern Cape Province has learnt with shock and anger about a circular dated 07 January 2021 from the Dr. Mnyimba, the Municipal Manager of Amathole District Municipality informing workers and councillors and workers in the municipality that they will not receive their salaries for the month of February, March, April, May and June 2021.
Of greatest concern to us is that the municipality never bothered to consult workers on this development which has significant impact on the livelihoods of workers and consequently service delivery for the residents of Amathole.
As a sign of the municipality’s attempt to undermine collective bargaining, the municipality never bothered to call a Local Labour Forum which is a statutory consultative platform dealing with issues directly affecting employees.
SAMWU is of the view that the challenges faced by the municipality are systematic in nature and not necessarily financial. It can’t be correct that only in the third quarter of the financial year, workers are told that the institution would not be in a position to honour its contractual obligations to workers.
Despite the budgetary provisions for salaries having been made last year, the municipality now asks workers to render their services without any remuneration for a period of 5 months. This evil and heartless municipality has asked workers to make arrangements with creditors for the period in which it will not be paying salaries.
The municipality does not take into account that whatever credit that workers have will be accumulating interests during that period. Most importantly, food is not bought on credit, transportation to work for workers and that of their dependants is not given on credit.
In essence, municipal management is conceding to the fact that they have failed to govern the District. They have no financial systems and plans in place to ensure the financial sustainability of the institution. Furthermore, they have no interest of service delivery to the residents.
SAMWU therefore calls on the Eastern Cape Provincial government to. immediately place the Amathole District Municipality under administration in terms of Section 139 (1) (b) of the country’s constitution. We further demand that the Municipal Manager be recused of his duties as he has shown that he cannot competently run the institution.
Our call for the municipality to be placed under administration is informed by the following developments in the institution;
• Audit General report on the Financial Performance.
• Financial mismanagement.
• Rotten corruption to the core.
• Outsourcing and privatisation
• Fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
• Non-implementation of consequence management to senior management.
• Non-compliant with Municipal Finance Management Act and Supply Chain Management Policy.
• Poor relations between management and employees.
• Ongoing protests within the District on poor services delivery on water and sanitation.
• Poor or lack of Financial Turnaround Plan.
• Political interference on administration.
• Failure to establish proper staff establishment in terms of Municipal Structures Act.
• Non- compliant with Health and safety Act and Disaster Management Act, COVID 19 Regulations.
• Non-compliant with Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
• Non-compliant with South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) agreements and including SALGA circulars.
• Non-compliant with Municipal Policies.
The union also demands that the Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) institute a forensic audit of the municipal accounts from 2014. We are convinced that the financial irregularities which will be uncovered are the root cause of the situation which the municipality finds itself in today.
As part of launching a campaign for the removal of Municipal Manager and placement of Amathole District Municipality under administration we will be organising and mobilising the following:
• All workers in all 8 local Municipalities in the District which include ADM, Great Kei Local Municipality, Amahlathi Local Municipality, Gqushwa Local Municipality, Mnquma Local Municipality, Mbashe Local Municipality and Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality.
• Ratepayers associations
• Business sector
• Community Based Organisations
• Civic Organisations
• Student organisations
• Traditional leaders
• And other relevant stakeholders
We will be outlining our Programme of Action to realise our strategic objective of placing the Amathole District Municipality under administration and firing of the Municipal Manager on the next few days once we have exhausted internal consultations with all structures in the Amathole Region.
Issued by SAMWU Eastern Cape
071 628 7586
Deputy Provincial Secretary 071 900 5014