Samwu calls for cash-strapped Amathole to be placed under administration

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
The South African Municipal Workers' Union has called for the Amathole Municipality to be placed under administration. The municipality says it will be unable to pay salaries to 1,670 people from February to June.
The South African Municipal Workers' Union has called for the Amathole Municipality to be placed under administration. The municipality says it will be unable to pay salaries to 1,670 people from February to June.
Image: Picture: 123RF/ANDRIY POPOV

The South African Municipal Workers' Union has called for the Amathole District Municipality be placed under administration.

The union has also called for the municipal manager, Thandekile Mnyimba, to be relieved of his duties as it claims he has shown that he cannot competently run the municipality's affairs.

The constitution provides that when a municipality cannot fulfil an executive obligation, the provincial government may intervene by assuming responsibility for the relevant obligation in that municipality.

The union made these demands after an announcement by the Eastern Cape municipality that it will not be able to pay salaries to 1,670 councillors, traditional leaders and all staff for four months, beginning in February, due to strained  financial resources.

The union's Eastern Cape secretary Luzuko Yalezo said of greatest concern was that the municipality did not consult workers on this development.

Yalezo said it had significant impact on the livelihoods of workers and service delivery for Amathole residents.

“As a sign of the municipality’s attempt to undermine collective bargaining, the municipality never bothered to call a local labour forum, which is a statutory consultative platform in dealing with issues directly affecting employees,” Yalezo said.

He said despite the budgetary provisions for salaries having been made last year, the municipality was now asking workers to render their services without any remuneration for five months.

“This municipality has asked workers to make arrangements with creditors for the period in which it will not be paying salaries.”

Yalezo said the council did not take into account that food was not bought on credit, transportation to work for workers and their dependents was not given on credit.

“In essence, the municipal management is conceding that it has failed to govern the district. They have no financial systems and plans to ensure the financial sustainability of the institution. Furthermore, they have no interest in service delivery to the residents.”

Yalezo said its call for the municipality to be placed under administration was informed by a number of developments in the municipality.

These include maladministration, financial mismanagement, corruption, outsourcing, privatisation and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Yalezo said the union wanted the provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs to institute a forensic audit of the municipal accounts from 2014.

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