The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in Gauteng Province is disturbed by the outrageous amount of money the City keeps flushing down the drain in its attempt to deny workers their salary and wage increases as agreed in the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC). 

Within a space of 8 days, the City took the Union to the Labour Court on two occasions with frivolous applications alleging that the Union is in contempt of the rule nisi issued by the same Court. On both occasions, the City was humiliated with their applications being dismissed. Although as a Union, we should be rejoicing over the two victories in Court, we are however concerned that the City has spent over R3 million in legal fees. This is money that could have been used to service residents of Tshwane. 

For a City that is pleading poverty in the midst of workers’ demands for the full implementation of the salary and wage collective agreement, the City of Tshwane has proven to be a City with full pockets. It is unfortunate that the only people who are benefiting from this extravagant expenditure is Lawtons Attorneys who are continuing to milk the City while workers are subjected to hunger and starvation as they cannot catch up with the rising cost of living.  

The very same City which has publicly pleaded poverty has highlighted its debt to Eskom as one of the reasons why it cannot afford to pay workers’ salary increases. In February this year, the Minister of Finance announced in his budget speech that he will be making available R59 billion Eskom relief grant to help municipalities in settling its Eskom debt. Knowing very well its financial muscle, the City of Tshwane opted not to apply for the Eskom relief grant. The City chose not to apply for this grant because it knew that it has enough money to service the Eskom debt. 

These are some of the reasons which have made it obvious to municipal workers in the City of Tshwane that their employer is able and capable of paying the 3.5% and 5.4% salary and wage increases. As a Union, our focus is now on the frivolous exemption application by the City. We are determined to oppose this application to ensure that our members and municipal workers get the salary increases due to them. 

Issued by SAMWU Gauteng Province 

Mpho Tladinyane, Provincial Secretary, 083 941 58880. 

Precious Theledi, Tshwane Regional Secretary, 072 601 8876.