The arrest of Durban Mayor an indication of the rot in municipalities: SAMWU

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has learnt with grave disappointment and embarrassment the revelations which were made at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court when the eThekwini Metro Mayor, Zandile Gumede along with officials were appearing for alleged corruption and defrauding the municipality. 

The Durban Solid Waste (DSW) department was strategically targeted by these individuals to further their political and personal interests by appointing the “contractors [who] were not on the city’s database and had no infrastructure, staff or skills in waste management and were essentially given money for work that was not done” according to the evidence presented in court.

It does not make sense to us as to why the City had waste collection contracts in the first place as the DSW department is operational and fully-fledged with staff and vehicles to render the same services which were privatized by the City. Waste collection is a municipal function which would be needed so long as municipalities exist and as such if the municipality saw the need to improve on their work, they should have rather hired more people permanently to deliver this service. 

In as much as we are disappointed by the revelations of the shenanigans happening at the eThekwini Metro, we are vindicated on the calls we have been making for so long that the privatization of municipal services is not in the interest of service delivery but that of capital and individuals. 

We, therefore, call on the Mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede to step aside and allow the court process to unfold as we believe her presence in the Council may hamper current investigations. Municipal workers and residents also want to have a mayor who is focused on worker issues and service delivery, a mayor who is not destructed by court processes. 

We further call on the review of all contracts in municipalities, particularly in the eThekwini Metro which has already proven that awarded contracts are littered with fraud and corruption and used to further political careers at the expense of residents.

Already the country’s municipalities are heavily underfunded yet, the very same municipalities are using the much-needed resource fraudulently advance personal and political interests through irregularly and corruptly awarded contracts which do not add value to service delivery but rather further deplete the much-needed resources. 

SAMWU is of the view that municipalities should not outsource their constitutional mandate of delivering services to third parties such as tenderpreneurs who do not care about service delivery but the maximization of their profits but cutting corners and shortchanging workers in the process. 

We firmly believe that it should be workers who are directly and permanently employed by municipalities who should render services to residents. This will ensure that these workers have job security and receive benefits which are given to municipal workers who are permanently employed by municipalities such as pension and medical aid.

As the 6th administration prepares to go into the office, we urge them to decisively deal with corruption without fear and favour particularly in municipalities as they have become breeding ground for corruption, effectively stealing from residents and compromising the delivery of services.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

Koena Ramotlou, General Secretary (073 254 9394), Dumisane Magagula, Deputy General Secretary (084 806 4005) or Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 710 0356