R800k for work­ers


The bank­rupt Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (EMLM) is due to pay some of its work­ers about R800,000 this month to kick-start the “har­mon­i­sa­tion” process that was sup­posed to have been done in 2016 with the amal­ga­ma­tion of three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

About 250 EMLM staffers who worked for the for­mer Nk­wanca, Tsol­wana and Lukhanji lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will be com­pen­sated for hav­ing been in­cor­rectly paid since 2016.

How­ever, the lo­cal au­thor­ity and the unions rep­re­sented in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity agreed af­ter nu­mer­ous en­gage­ments that work­ers would only be paid for the pre­ced­ing months of this fi­nan­cial year, and not from 2016.

EMLM ad­min­is­tra­tor Vuyo Mlokothi said dur­ing a joint press brief­ing with the labour rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Tues­day that the first pay­ment would be made this month, and that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would only pay 50% of what was due to the work­ers.

“An­other pay­ment of 50% as the back pay to­gether with 100% will be made in June 2019.The fi­nal pay­ment of 50% as the back pay to­gether with 100% will be made in Au­gust 2019 [sic].

“The to­tal amount that will be paid to the af­fected em­ploy­ees is not R18m, con­trary to what was pre­vi­ously re­ported. Af­ter en­gage­ment with the unions we agreed to pay about R9m in to­tal be­cause every­one un­der­stands that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is cash-strapped.”

Mlokothi said the har­mon­i­sa­tion pay­out would come from rev­enue that has and will be col­lected by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and not from gov­ern­ment grants be­cause they were meant for ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“We have been em­phatic to the unions that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is still not vi­able. Just be­cause we have re­ceived the ma­jor­ity of our grants does not mean we are in a good fi­nan­cial state. That money is for ser­vice de­liv­ery and that is where it will be di­rected to.”

The South African Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers Union (Samwu) sec­re­tary in Enoch Mgi­jima, Thabo Ng­wane, said labour unions were sat­is­fied with the agree­ment they had with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“Some is­sues like the grad­ing of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the sale of mu­nic­i­pal land were

with­drawn. Other mat­ters like the per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment of con­tract work­ers and in­terns and fill­ing of va­cant bud­geted po­si­tions will be ful­filled, sub­ject to the avail­abil­ity of funds and the crit­i­cal­ity of the post.”

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue of costs in­curred by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity dur­ing the strike, Ng­wane said he had in­formed the lead­er­ship in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity af­ter an agree­ment last Fri­day that all Samwu mem­bers would help clean up the town on Mon­day.

“I was sur­prised to see peo­ple clean­ing over the week­end be­cause we said all work­ers, whether they worked in of­fices or not, were go­ing to help clean the town so we should not be held re­spon­si­ble for the money spent to clean. How­ever we sin­cerely apol­o­gise to the peo­ple of Ko­mani for the in­con­ve­nience caused. We also need it to be un­der­stood that we were do­ing what was right for the work­ers at the time.”

EMLM mayor Sisisi Tolashe said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was not in a po­si­tion to quan­tify the dam­age caused to in­fra­struc­ture by the strike, but un­der­stood it cost a lot of money.

“Un­der­stand that the strike hap­pened at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber and peo­ple had been paid in their work places, while most busi­nesses pay the mu­nic­i­pal­ity on the start of each month. We lost all those pay­ments and we urge every­one to come for­ward and pay for ser­vices be­cause all mu­nic­i­pal of­fices are op­er­a­tional now.”

The mayor also apol­o­gised to Ko­mani res­i­dents about the rub­bish strewn about town and the in­con­ve­nience caused by of­fices closed dur­ing the strike.


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