COSATU General Secretary Cde. Solly Phetoe to lead SAMWU Free State march in Matjhabeng Municipality

23 February 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) General Secretary Comrade Solly Phetoe will be leading the SAMWU march which will take place on 23 March 2024 in Welkom. The march will start at Orange circle next to the SASSA offices and proceed to the Municipal Office to hand over the memorandum to the offices of the Minister for National Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as well as the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.

The march comes amidst a four-week long protected strike action by workers. They have been resolute and united against the treatment that has been meted out to them by the municipality with the Executive Mayor Mr. Thanduxolo Khalipa leading the charge. As the Federation we are encouraged by the unity and resilience of the workers in confronting an individual who has been given the tittle of a national mayor due to the sheer fear that he has instilled in some leaders of the provincial government.

Many leaders had already classified the mayor as walking on water because of the calculated and staged incidents where he would be conveniently seen and photographed very close to the president of the country. As workers we have a history of confronting and conquering the worst fears of others given enough facts prompting us to do so. We are intensifying our action to seek a resolution on the matter.

We are disturbed by the attitude of numerous officials in the provincial government who do not view the strike as an occurrence which demands urgent resolution. Some have stuck their heads in the sand and refuse to confront the pertinent issues that led the workers to embark on a protected strike action, evidently intimidated by the perceived power wielded by their ‘National Mayor.’

As workers we are the last line of defence for good governance, efficient service delivery as well as honest leadership in the municipality that should deal with corruption, outsourcing and maladministration.

The Federation is taken aback that even the NCOP is unwilling to confront the maladministration in Matjhabeng. This is despite their Constitution given power to practice oversight should the provincial government fail to intervene. The letter from the NCOP to the Provincial Government dated 01 October 2023, with the title ‘Motion of Concern’ has not been followed up by the NCOP and our reminder to its chairperson on 20 November 2023 has not attracted the attention it required. Needless to mention that the provincial government has been crippled by fear since the receipt of the letter. It does not possess the courage to confront their so called ‘national mayor,’ but as workers we are not afraid!

We won’t be intimidated by the titles attached to certain individuals, as such remain temporary. The Federation will confront anyone who chooses to take sides with culprits who harass workers, abuse them, and hurl insults at workers in meetings.

It is our existential role to protect the interests of our members and to ensure that they continue to render services to earn salaries to provide for their families.

The struggle continues!

Issued by COSATU Free State

Monyatso Mahlatsi, COSATU Free State Provincial Secretary
Enquiries on 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923