The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) made an intervention at the Ditsobotla Local Municipality in the North West Province following the failure by the municipality to pay workers their salaries for the month of February. The Municipality has also been deducting from workers’ salaries money supposedly for pension funds and medical aid but failed to pay such deductions over to the intended recipients. Currently, the said third parties are owed over R49 million.
Following the intervention by the Union, the Municipality has today paid workers salaries, 7 days later than the pay date. The Municipality has further made a commitment that in the next few days, monies owed to third parties will be gradually paid, to ensure that all these accounts are settled. We are aware that this is not the first time that the Municipality has failed to pay workers’ salaries on time in the last few months. We will therefore continue monitoring the situation to ensure that moving forward, the Municipality pays workers their salaries on time and that third parties’ arrears are settled.
We have since established that Ditsobotla Municipality’s financial problems have been worsened by its failure to bill consumers since July 2022, as a result, the Municipality is owed over R300 million by residents, businesses and government departments. The North West Provincial Government has also compounded the problems faced by the Municipality by failing to timeously pay for municipal services that they have consumed. We are however pleased by the commitment and dedication by the COGTA MEC and his office in ensuring that a team is dispatched to verify and settle some of the money that is owed to the Municipality.
The current situation at the Municipality is a vindication of the calls by the Union that the current municipal funding model is to blame for the financial collapse of the country’s municipalities. Ditsobotla Local Municipality owes creditors almost R1 billion, an amount which would practically be impossible to pay through revenue collecting, hence the need for government to ensure that municipalities receive a fairer equitable share.
Importantly, Ditsobotla Local Municipality and many municipalities throughout the country need to ensure that there are proper revenue collection mechanisms in place to supplement the grants and equitable share coming from government.
In activating the Union’s theme “the year of a member”, we will be monitoring the constant payments of workers’ salaries and third parties on time across all municipalities. No worker should go to bed hungry whereas they have already laboured for a municipality.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
076 508 4029
North West Provincial Secretary
083 580 8815