COSATU Free State condemns the victimization of a whistle-blower in the Tokologo Local Municipality

29 May 2023

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Free State has noted with great concern the irrational suspension of a South African Municipal Workers Union(SAMWU) shopsteward and member of the Provincial COSATU Young Workers Forum, for acting ethically by exposing criminal actions in the Tokologo Local  Municipality.  

For quite some time now, COSATU and her Affiliate SAMWU have been dealing with criminal activities at various municipalities where funds were deducted monthly from the salaries of workers and yet not paid over to the third parties such as insurance, retirement funds etc. where they are due. 

This illegal activity has led to the lapsing or denial of services by third parties. Workers have been adversely affected by this. We have learnt of instances where they have not been able to access medical services as medical aid payments were not paid over. Others were forced to cease plans to retire due to the municipality’s failure to safeguard retirement funds by defaulting on payments for years.

There have been engagements with various municipalities and this matter has been raised at the level of the Free State Provincial Government EXCO in an attempt to remedy the situation. However, this practice continues unabated. COSATU has been advised that the failure to pay third parties is a criminal offense and if and when such is discovered, it should be reported to the law enforcement agencies to allow the law to take its course. Subsequent to this advice, SAMWU opened a criminal case which we hope will be attended to with the urgency it deserves.

The Federation has learnt of Tokologo Local Municipality’s shocking intimidating tactics through the office of the Acting Municipal Manager, which went on to victimize the whistle-blower. The SAMWU Shopsteward who is also a member of the Provincial COSATU Young Workers Forum has been suspended as a retaliatory action.

We hereby condemn this with the strongest possible terms and demand that the suspension be withdrawn without conditions. The Tokologo Local Municipality should refrain from victimizing employees and address the matter with SAMWU and COSATU as the initiators who opened the case with the authorities.

The struggle continues!

Issued by COSATU Free State

Monyatso oa Mahlatsi(Provincial Secretary)

051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923