'I was demoted for belonging to Cope'

Russel Morena

Russel Morena

A municipal worker in Limpopo who was demoted from messenger to general worker said he was being punished for being a member of Cope.

Jerry Machete, employed at Duiwelskloof by the Greater Letaba municipality, said he would take the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Last December, Machete was handed a final warning for insubordination and damage to municipal property, after a disciplinary hearing over an accident in a municipal car.

He said yesterday that he was called to the municipal manager's office a day after the hearing and given another letter instructing him to quit his messenger position, which he had held since October 9 2006, on an acting basis without an allowance.

He said: "I don't understand why I should return to my previous position when I have been given a final written warning.

"I see it as punishment because management heard that I had joined Cope," Machete said.

He said he only started earning an acting allowance salary from April last year after he had lodged a complaint.

"The municipal manager told me that the mayor had complained that I am a member of Cope and instructed him to release me from my duties because I am using the municipality's phone to call Cope members during working hours," Machete said in a letter addressed to the council.

Municipal manager Sakkie Mutshinyali yesterday denied the allegations.

He said Machete had failed to cooperate and to submit an accident report.

Mutshinyali said Machete was not demoted, but returned to his original position after the outcome of the hearing.

"We don't care which political party he belongs to. We are here to serve the community, whether from Cope, ANC, DA or whatever," he said.

"But if you act against procedures, then you are disciplined."

He said the community services director had refused to accept Machete's accident report because it was late and he had already been charged.