COSATU Free State calls on national and provincial government to pay their municipalities to allow for the payment of workers

21 June 2023

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Free State is appalled yet unsurprised by the status quo that remains at the Kopanong Local Municipality. Workers have been undermined and not been paid their salaries for two consecutive months. Funds for salaries have been allocated to the municipality however, it continues to disregard its obligations to the workers. For almost a year now, national and provincial governments have slacked at their duties and unashamedly failed to pay Kopanong Local Municipality bills.

As matters stand, Mohokare and Mafube municipalities have similarly failed to pay worker salaries for two months. COSATU will be closely monitoring this collapse in administrative responsibilities and will track national and provincial government’s commitments to fulfilling their mandates.

To date, the Free State Provincial Government Departments (FSPG) owes Kopanong Municipality R25,998,828.29. This amount is more than 180 days overdue. There is also an additional amount owed to Kopanong to the tune of R4,980,028.43 from schools alone. An outstanding amount for the National Government is standing at R 3,350,193.10.

As COSATU Free State, we condemn with the strongest possible terms the conduct of the FSPG, which is the leading cause of the non-payment of municipal bills, as supported by the figures above. This hypocritical behavior of FSPG is concerning as the very same entity tirelessly criticises municipalities for their underperformance while it is the first to refuse to pay for services!

We hereby call on the Free State Premier Comrade Mxolisi Dukwana to act with speed and ensure that FSPG pays its municipal bills by the end of June 2023. Should such not take place, the Federation will view such as a deliberate step by the national and provincial government to becoming a delinquent debtor. We will not allow these unfavourable situations where our members are forced into suffering and are unable to perform their duties and serve communities due to another sphere of government unfairly hoarding the monies due to municipalities.

This delinquent payer status by the national government and the FSPG will cause further ruin to the already non-paying culture of municipal services by business and residents. Serious introspection is needed on the part of government leaders in this regard.

We also make a strong call to the municipalities to spend municipal funds wisely and avoid engaging in acts of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditures. Municipalities cannot also continuously act as charity cases whilst they persist to allow and turn a blind eye to the leakages in their finances. Workers do not have endless patience with self-inflicted hardships which have an impact on their lives.

Workers undeservedly bear the brunt of ill-conceived decisions by political and administrative leaders in these municipalities. Municipalities should shape up and adequately manage their finances.

The struggle continues!

Issued by COSATU Free State

Monyatso oa Mahlatsi(Free State Provincial Secretary)

Tel: 051 447 5499

Cell: 076 115 9923