THE eThekwini municipality has come under fire from five acting supervisors who were demoted to make way for new and permanent workers.
The five have been acting in their positions for between 10 and 12 years.
They said they were told by their manager, Jabulani Mdiniso, and supervisor, Maxwell Mthenjwa, that President Jacob Zuma had said all workers in acting positions should be demoted and replaced by full-time employees.
Alex Zikhali said he had been the swimming pool acting supervisor for 12 years, and was only informed on Monday that the position of supervisor had been filled.
The new employee, an outsider, will start in January.
Zikhali said the axe also fell on four others who had been holding the same position as his.
"They (Mdiniso and Mthenjwa) told us that we would relinquish our acting posts at the end of the month since new supervisors had been employed," he said.
Zikhali said they were shocked because they had previously applied for the same positions. He said they had on numerous occasions even attended interviews.
"Each time I went for an interview, I was not told why I could not get the job as a supervisor despite the necessary experience and expertise in I had picked up in this field since I joined 15 years ago," he said.
"What makes me even more heartbroken is the fact that in the past 12 years of acting, I have not once been summoned before a disciplinary hearing or received a written or verbal warning for incompetence or any complaint because I have been doing my job with dedication.
"And this is how the municipality repays me. I feel exploited," he said.
Zikhali said this had affected them emotionally and financially since their salaries would drop from level nine to level four.
Another acting supervisor, Dumisani Xulu, echoed Zikhali's sentiments.
He said he had been acting for 10 years now.
"As if that was not enough, my acting allowance of four months has not been paid," he said.
Mdiniso declined to comment, referring queries to the municipality's communication department.
Municipal speaker James Nxumalo expressed shock, saying this was unlawful.
"I was not aware of this and I will investigate," Nxumalo said.