mayor cleans as workers strike

hands on: uMsunduzi municipality mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo sweeps beer bottles and other garbage at The Carbineers Garden of Peace outside the council offices. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 03/03/2010. © Sowetan.
hands on: uMsunduzi municipality mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo sweeps beer bottles and other garbage at The Carbineers Garden of Peace outside the council offices. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 03/03/2010. © Sowetan.

ANC councillors in the troubled uMsunduzi municipality braved cold and wet weather to clean up the city as council workers continued their strike yesterday.

Councillors and including mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo left their air-conditioned offices for hours to pick up rubbish and beer bottles near the mayor's parlour.

The clean-up campaign started after a four-hour meeting between Hlatshwayo, the municipality's workers and executive committee member Themba Zungu at Harry Gwala Stadium.

The councillors dirtied their hands while workers staged a march lasting hours along the busy Langalibalele Street in Pietermaritzburg.

Hlatshwayo said they had opted to clean up a few areas until the workers returned to work. "We could have hired people to clean up the city, but we have no money. We will instead ask volunteers and people from NGOs to come and assist us in the campaign."

Defiant workers vowed not to go back to work until their demands were met.

They are demanding, among other things, that Hlatshwayo and municipal manager Rob Haswell be sacked immediately for allegedly bringing the council into disrepute.

However, Hlatshwayo said councillors did not deal with administrative work but implemented policies. "With the issue of workers, the buck stops with the manager," she said.

Branch secretary of the South African Municipal Workers Union, Nokubonga Dinga, said they were disappointed by the situation at the council.

"It is quite unfortunate that this is taking place at a time when, as a union, we are still in a celebratory mood after the resounding victory of the ANC in most municipalities within the province," she said.

"It is our view that a thorough investigation against certain managers has to be conducted, with a view to instituting disciplinary measures."

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