Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

City of Joburg to comply with ruling after court orders metro to reinstate 130 fired workers

Samwu has welcomed the outcome after initially taking the City of Joburg to court two years ago.

The City of Johannesburg says it will abide with a court ruling ordering the metropolitan municipality to reinstate fired workers.

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday ruled in favour of the 130 employees, whose contracts were terminated in February 2022.

At the time, the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led government took a council decision, which reversed the contract conversions of the workers from fixed-term to permanent.

Then-Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse defended the move to rescind the decision taken by the ANC-led mayoral committee in October 2021.

Phalatse argued that the conversion was never approved by the Joburg council.

City of Joburg decision unlawful

The High Court has since ruled that the city’s decision was unlawful, declaring the applicants as permanent employees of the municipality.

The metro, according to the court’s judgment, was compelled to consult the municipal workers before changing their employment contracts.

The court ordered the city to bear the costs of the legal battle, including the costs of two counsel.

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The city has confirmed that it will not appeal the ruling and will instead “work towards abiding by the court’s directives” after “carefully” studying the judgment.

“We wish to reassure all affected parties as well as our residents that the City of Johannesburg led by the government of local unity is a law-abiding government which respects the rule of law and believes that the courts are final arbiters in all disputes,” acting Joburg mayor, Loyiso Masuku briefly said in a statement.

‘Justice has prevailed’ – Samwu

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has also welcomed the outcome after initially taking the city to court two years ago.

In a statement, the union said it was of the view that workers’ rights and livelihoods were “unjustly threatened”.

“However, justice has prevailed, and we commend the high court for its impartiality and commitment to upholding the rule of law.

READ MORE: ‘Intimidation, unfair labour practice’: City of Joburg urged to give workers time

“We recognise that this victory is not just for the 130 [workers] but for all employees who deserve fair treatment and respect in the workplace,” Samwu Johannesburg Regional Secretary, Thobani Nkosi said on Thursday.

“This landmark decision reaffirms our collective commitment to justice, fairness, and dignity in the workplace. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the City of Johannesburg remains a beacon of opportunity and equality for all its employees,” Nkosi added.

The Labour Court previously ruled in favour of the 130 employees by interdicting the city from terminating the contracts.

The contracts expired at the end of April 2022. 

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