The department of water and sanitation is confident there is no risk of an interruption to water supply services, despite the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) embarking on a national strike yesterday in 53 of the department’s workplaces across the country.
Water and sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau yesterday assured The Citizen water supply services would not be affected.
“I’m hoping that water and sanitation services don’t get interrupted,” said Ratau. “As of now, there is water in the municipal as well as in the entity infrastructure. This also includes our water bores.
“Our operators are also regarded as essential services, so in terms the essential services Gazette that went out a while ago, our operators should be allowed to go on site and keep the infrastructure going. We are hoping that even if people continue striking, the issue of essential services don’t come under fire.”
The strike follows a deadlock in negotiations with the department regarding complaints of outsourcing, service conditions and corruption within senior management.
The union has also accused former minister Nomvula Mokonyane of “unlawfully suspending many senior managers” and “refusing to implement arbitration awards which are favourable to the union”.
Nehawu also insists the department overspent its R14 billion by R2 billion as a result of rampant corruption.
Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said the union would take legal action against Mokonyane and present evidence to the Hawks.
“We will be speaking to the National Treasury and we are planning to have a meeting with them next week. We will not allow corruption to take place any longer,” said Xaba.
Ratau said the department was holding discussions with the Bargaining Council, adding the department had agreed to some of the union’s demands.