SAMWU furious over comments by CoJ Economic Development to fire all employees

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Petrus Mashishi Region (Johannesburg) has learnt with great wrath and anger, a voice recording of City of Johannesburg MMC for Economic Development, Cllr Nkululelo Mbundu wherein he makes known his feelings and attitude towards workers within the City.

In the recording which SAMWU is in possession of, Cllr Mbundu is heard saying that when the DA-led administration was temporarily removed from office, workers went to the new administration to inform them of the things that the DA-led multiparty government was doing. According to Cllr Mbundu, these workers were “buying face” of the new administration by speaking out against the shenanigans that happened under the administration which he was part of.

The comments by Cllr Mbundu are proof that indeed, things were not done currently by that administration, actions which may even be illegal and unlawful hence his feeling that workers should not have spoken out. To us, these comments are nothing but an attempt to silence workers who witness maladministration within the City and go with their consciousness and report such. If there was nothing illegal or unlawful that was done by that administration, there would be no need for Cllr Mbundu to feel threatened by what workers would have possibly divulged.

These comments are a vindication to SAMWU, which has always argued that municipal workers who decide to blow the whistle on fraud and corruption are victimized, suspended, dismissed or assassinated for doing the right thing. It is for this reason that the union has always called for the protection of such employees who, in recent history has become a norm for criminals and the those with Cllr Mbundu’s myopic logic, have had such employees silenced through the barrel of a gun. As municipal workers, we have an obligation and a duty to ensure that there is good corporate governance in municipalities.

In the recording, Cllr Mbundu goes as far as labelling workers as “an enemy” and “politicians masquerading as officials”, a comment which we do not take kindly to. As we have said time and time again, as a union, politics of which political party leads the City is one which we are not interested in nor is it our preoccupation. Ours is to work with any political party in government, so long as they advance the interests of workers, service delivery and honestly running the City. Where these conditions are not met, workers will undoubtedly make known their frustrations at the administration.

To make matters worse, Cllr Mbundu further alleges that workers are only there to serve the interests of the ANC. We need not remind Cllr Mbundu and his colleagues within the Executive that, before we are municipal workers, we are community members. As such, the reason that workers wake up each morning, and go to work is not only to support our families but also to ensure that services are delivered to residents and communities, which we are part of. Unlike Cllr Mbundu, we are not in the City to line up our pockets through dodgy dealings. For us, our work is a calling, we have been called to serve residents of Johannesburg, a call which we have diligently responded to.

In the same recording, Cllr Mbundu further adds that if it were up to him, he would fire all workers in the City. This comment on its own shows the attitude and perception that Mbundu has towards workers who daily strive to make the lives of communities better. Cllr Mbundu should know his place, he is not the employing authority in the City, he has no powers whatsoever to dismiss even a single worker, let alone to give instruction to any employee apart from his political appointees. 

We are not shocked though by the newly found powers which Mbundu thinks he has divinely received. Mbundu should know better that discipline in the local government sector is governed through the Disciplinary Code Procedure Agreement, which the City of Johannesburg is party to. Although these comments are unfortunate, hurtful and brings the reputation and image of municipal workers into disrepute, we are not shocked by these comments as Mbundu is a puppet of the Free Market Foundation which gave birth to Action SA, a party which Mbundu belongs.

For SAMWU, the comments by Cllr Mbundu have eroded decades of work that created sound labour relations in the workplace. There is not a single worker in the City who would look at Mbundu with respect, already workers have been labeled enemies of the City and they would therefore have to act in the manner in which enemies do, they fight!

In the interest of labour stability in the City, we call on the Executive in the City of Johannesburg to call their lumpen into order and take corrective action against him. If indeed this administration works for all as they conveniently claim, they should ensure that the City has no place for people like Mbundu. For the crime that Mbundu has committed against the entire workforce in the City, he deserves to be stripped of the position which holds, a position which he thinks he can use to launch unprovoked attacks on workers. If it is war that Mbundu wants from workers, we will gladly return the favour!

Issued by SAMWU Petrus Mashishi Region (Johannesburg) Thobani Nkosi Regional Secretary

066 290 2134


Richard Moila

Deputy Regional Secretary

073 172 9459