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Samwu blasts Joburg City's job-creation programme

Samwu blasts Joburg City's job-creation programme.
Samwu blasts Joburg City's job-creation programme.

The South African  Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) wants to meet management in the City of Johannesburg after the announcement of an initiative in which unemployed people will help clean the streets and do other related services.

In his budget speech last week, Johannesburg MMC for finance Funzela Ngobeni announced that the city would be setting aside R100m to recruit a “visible service delivery workforce”.  

These people will be sourced from the city’s unemployment database and will perform functions such as weeding, litter picking, street sweeping, storm water desilting and related functions.  

Ngobeni said the city would have 10 of these workers per ward.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, the city plans to employ between 1,000 and 1,400 people to perform these functions.  However, Samwu general secretary Koena Ramotlou said while the union embraced initiatives of creating jobs and easing the workload of municipal workers, it was not pleased with the recent announcement.

“These vacancies have not been advertised, as is a legal requirement for the city to do so before filling any vacancy... We believe that if the city wants to address the ‘drag’ in service delivery they should rather capacitate those units by hiring people after following the city’s employment policies and council resolutions,” Ramotlou said.

“Our other concern is that we do not know the nature of the employment contract that the city will enter into with these workers. We are worried that the city may be bringing back programmes such as Jozi@Work and Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) disguised as a new job-creation project.”

Samwu described  Jozi@Work and the EPWP “as exploitative in nature”.

Jozi@Work was a programme started in 2015 to allow communities to partner with the city in the delivery of municipal services in their neighbourhoods. Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba ended the initiative in 2017, describing it a “patronage network”.

EPWP, on the other hand, is a government programme aimed at providing relief for the unemployed through temporary work. It is implemented by all spheres of government and SOEs. Ramotlou said municipalities should hire people permanently and directly.

“… municipalities should hire people permanently and directly so they too can earn decent salaries and [have] benefits such as pension and medical [aid]. We will therefore be requesting a meeting with the city’s management to get a full understanding of the project and how it would be rolled out,” he said.

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