SAMWU statement on Local Government Elections.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) congratulates the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for having conducted successful, free and fair Local Government Elections held on the 1st November 2021. These were undoubtedly the most difficult elections that the IEC has conducted so far given the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the glitches that were experienced by voters, the IEC managed to conduct a peaceful and successful elections which will lead to the 6th municipal administration. We thank South Africans for having exercised their constitutional right and played their civic duty and braced different weather conditions to cast their votes. As a county, we should however be concerned by the low voter turnout that was witnessed in these elections.
We further take this opportunity to congratulate all Councillors who were elected to lead the 6th municipal administration. We particularly congratulate the union’s officials and members who contested and have emerged as Councillors in these elections while also urging them to not forget the plight of workers on the ground. We trust that they will represent the interests of workers and community members who mandated them to lead as their Councillors.
In line with our October Central Executive Committee meeting and resolutions of our federation COSATU, the union took a decision to encourage workers and South Africans to vote for the ANC, a decision which we do not regret taking.
We therefore congratulate the ANC on being given the mandate to govern 116 of the country’s local municipalities. Despite the mandate to govern a majority of the country’s municipalities, we note with concern the electoral misfortunes that the party suffered in these elections. These misfortunes are a clear indication for the need to go back to the drawing board and self introspect with the aim of diagnosing the factors that led to the decline in voter confidence. The diagnosis of the fators leading to electoral decline needs to be addressed way before the county holds the 2024 General Elections.
These elections have resulted in 66 hung councils, a number that has not been seen in the history of the country’s municipal administrations. As political parties now begin with engagements of forming coalition governments in the hung municipalities, we urge them to put aside their differences and focus on ensuring that they form governments that are stable and responsive to the needs of South Africans and municipal workers.
The first priority for the councils that are to be constituted should be the immediate implantation of the recently signed salary and wage collective agreement in the South African Local Bargaining Council (SALGBC). Currently there are several municipalities that have not communicated with workers on when they will be receiving their salary increases, we want these Councils to immediately take a Council resolution on the implementation of workers’ salary increase.
These new Councils should further ensure the stability of the country’s municipalities, according to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ state of local governance barometer, 64 municipalities are dysfunctional while 111 are on the brink of dysfunctionality. We therefore want these new Councils to ensure that these municipalities are supported and turned around. More importantly GOGTA should play a leading role in ensuring that mechanisms are put in place to arrest the factors that have led to the collapse and near collapse of these municipalities.
As SAMWU, we are interested in seeing stable municipalities that improve the lives of South Africans, importantly we are interested in seeing sound labour relations in municipalities. We are therefore sending a word of warning to the 6th municipal administration that irrespective of who governs the municipality, SAMWU will keep them on their toes in ensuring that collective bargaining is not reversed and that municipal workers are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
Municipalities are the closest sphere of government to residents and are in the coalface of service delivery. These Councillors should therefore hit the ground running to ensure that residents continue receiving the much needed basic services. The time for politicking has come to an end, voters have spoken. Residents and municipal workers alike want to see accountability and transparency in municipalities, they also want to see properly functioning municipalities which are responsive to their needs. We wish the 6th municipal administration well and trust that they will not fail residents and workers.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
076 580 4029
National Media Officer
073 710 0356