The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), in the Tshwane Region has noted with concern the current closure of municipal offices by the community of Bronkhorstspruit (erstwhile Kungwini Local Municipality) in Region 7 and the failure by the City of Tshwane to address the said situation.
It is becoming a common occurrence that when the community has issues with the City of Tshwane, they visit and close the municipal office. Workers are forcefully ejected from their offices and denied access to such offices. What is a major concern to SAMWU is that some of these protesters are carrying weapons including guns. The lives of municipal employees are now at risk and some had to be treated for the trauma they suffered as a result of these abrupt sieges of municipal offices.
The said situation has negatively affected the delivery of services noting that workers have not been able to respond to service delivery challenges such as electricity outages, filling of potholes and water leakages. The unfortunate situation is that the said protesters are now targeting employees who reside within the local community alleging that they are sabotaging service delivery. It is for this reason that as a union, we condemn the forced closure of the offices by community members, we are of the view that the anger and agitation by residents are misdirected to municipal workers who themselves are affected by failures in service delivery.
As SAMWU, we sympathise with community members and the issues which they gave raised finds resonance with a majority if our members. We are community members before we are municipal workers, as such, we too are directly affected by issues that have been raised by these members of the community. We also want the delivery of services, we however condemn the manner in which these issues have been raised, to the extent of threatening the personal safety of workers who themselves are too affected by the lack of service delivery.
SAMWU has over a number of days reported the matter to the City of Tshwane leadership but nothing has been done. Workers are now exposed to hostile situations on a daily basis. We once more reiterate our support for the demands that have been put forward by community members. We further call on the Acting Executive Mayor and the new City Manager to respond and positively address the issues raised by Bronkhorstspruit residents. The current situation in Bronkhorspruit should be used as a litmus test the gauge the seriousness of the City’s administration to deliver services to all residents of the City irrespective of their backgrounds, more importantly, this should serve as a gauge of how the administration values the lives and security of municipal workers.
Issued by SAMWU Gauteng Province
SAMWU Provincial Secretary
083 941 5888
SAMWU Regional Secretary
084 465 5598