MK vet­er­ans get jobs af­ter storm­ing city hall

The Sunday Independent - - Front Page - SIPHELELE BUTHELEZI AND SI­BONELO MNGADI

THE eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has kow­towed to strong-arm tac­tics of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion (MKMVA) and awarded jobs to more than 80 peo­ple claim­ing to have served in the armed wing of the ANC.

More than 100 MKMVA mem­bers stormed the City Hall on Tues­day, de­mand­ing jobs. Fol­low­ing this, Dur­ban mayor Zandile Gumede al­legedly is­sued a di­rec­tive in­struct­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s hu­man re­sources de­part­ment to award jobs to MKMVA mem­bers who had pre­vi­ously ap­plied for em­ploy­ment.

City man­ager Sipho Nzuza con­firmed on Fri­day that 15 MKMVA mem­bers would start work­ing to­mor­row as full-time gen­eral as­sis­tants in the city’s De­part­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion and an­other 36 would be al­lo­cated jobs, ef­fec­tive next month, in the De­part­ment of Roads and Stormwa­ter Main­te­nance and 30 in the De­part­ment of Parks and Recre­ation.

Nzuza said this was in line with the na­tional Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans Act which stated that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and sta­te­owned en­ti­ties should sup­port MK vet­er­ans and their de­pen­dants by pro­vid­ing jobs, ad­vice on busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, ac­cess to mu­nic­i­pal health ser­vices, hous­ing and other rel­e­vant sup­port.

The names and cre­den­tials of those claim­ing to be MK vet­er­ans who have been given jobs in the city have not been pub­licly dis­closed by ei­ther the mu­nic­i­pal­ity or the MKMVA. The 15 MKMVA mem­bers who start work to­mor­row re­fused to be in­ter­viewed.

“There is a list of all those who were ver­i­fied as gen­uine mem­bers of the mil­i­tary,” said Nzuza. “I will be ap­proach­ing other gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions to come on board and pro­vide job op­por­tu­ni­ties for them be­cause the mu­nic­i­pal­ity at the mo­ment doesn’t have va­can­cies avail­able for all of them.”

MKMVA pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Themba Mavundla wel­comed the lat­est move, claim­ing its mem­bers had been wait­ing a long time for the city to de­liver on its prom­ise to pro­vide them with jobs.

This week’s de­ci­sion is likely to spark an out­cry among peo­ple who suc­cess­fully ap­plied for the same po­si­tions that are now be­ing taken up by MKMVA mem­bers.

A well-in­formed source within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity said: “The prob­lem is that some peo­ple have gone through the nor­mal re­cruit­ment process. They passed the tests and in­ter­views and were told they had got the job and would be start­ing next month. HR peo­ple will now have to go back and tell them they will no longer be start­ing work be­cause their po­si­tions have been taken by MK peo­ple.

“This whole thing is a mess. Peo­ple who were sup­posed to start work have a right to even take the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to court.”

The MKMVA’s de­mands for city jobs comes af­ter its mem­bers in­vaded sev­eral hous­ing projects, most re­cently in Pietermaritzburg and Port Shep­stone.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Lukhona Mn­guni said while the de­mands of gen­uine vet­er­ans for jobs and hous­ing were jus­ti­fi­able, he ques­tioned the MKMVA’s tac­tics. He warned of un­rest if eThek­wini kept en­ter­tain­ing force­ful de­mands from or­gan­i­sa­tions such as MKMVA and Amadel-an­gokubona, a busi­ness fo­rum that has used po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions and strong-arm tac­tics to land ten­ders and gov­ern­ment con­tracts.

“It fu­els this no­tion that for you to be lis­tened to there must be a form of protest that is be­yond peace­ful,” said Mn­guni.

“If we look at it in the con­text of eThek­wini pol­i­tics, it’s a grow­ing trend which is a dan­ger. If the mu­nic­i­pal­ity keeps on en­ter­tain­ing that cul­ture, it might just ce­ment great so­cial un­rest in the city and that would no be good for gov­er­nance be­cause clearly op­por­tu­ni­ties will no longer be trans­ferred to so­ci­ety in a fair and eq­ui­table man­ner.

“It would be based on who makes the most vi­o­lent de­mands.”

Mn­guni said Dur­ban’s mayor should be en­gag­ing with other gov­ern­ment spheres in ad­dress­ing the needs of MK vet­er­ans.

May­oral spokesper­son Mthunzi Gumede said eThek­wini had es­tab­lished a ded­i­cated of­fice that sup­ported MK vet­er­ans.

“The mayor is look­ing at ca­pac­i­tat­ing that of­fice to be­come ef­fi­cient. As the city, we recog­nise the role played by them (MK vet­er­ans) and we are com­mit­ted to en­sure that they are looked af­ter as per the pol­icy,” said Gumede.

Phi­lani Mthembu, an MKMVA re­gional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would wait pa­tiently “un­til all of its mem­bers were taken care of by gov­ern­ment”. “We have waited for 22 years to get jobs, houses and other needs. We do not mind wait­ing un­til all the needs of our mem­bers are met.”

The MKMVA has re­ported that it has 20 000 mem­bers. Mthembu said it had 750 mem­bers in Dur­ban.

Na­tional MKMVA spokesper­son Carl Niehaus ap­plauded Gumede for be­ing the first mayor to open a spe­cial of­fice for MK vet­er­ans. How­ever, he said the man­ner in which MKMVA mem­bers had ex­pressed their de­mands in Dur­ban on Tues­day was “a bit prob­lem­atic”.

“I think com­rades (MK vet­er­ans) should have done it a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently con­sid­er­ing that the mayor is re­ally try­ing her best,” he said.

Na­tional MKMVA chair­per­son Kebby Maphat­soe called for tough ac­tion to be taken against peo­ple mas­querad­ing as MK vet­er­ans, de­mand­ing mu­nic­i­pal jobs and in­ter­fer­ing with gov­ern­ment hous­ing projects.

PIC­TURE: BONGIWE MCHUNU

AN­GERED: Na­tional Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son Kebby Maphat­soe has called for tough ac­tion to be taken against peo­ple mas­querad­ing as MK vet­er­ans.

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