The City of Tshwane says there are delays and disruptions to crucial services due to a wild cat strike by its municipality workers.
Tshwane City has since activated a Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to respond to disruptions with members of the Tshwane Metro Police Department and South African Police Service being deployed across the municipality.
“Contractors responding to electrical and water outages are being intimidated when they arrive in affected areas to repair these outages,” said Tshwane City Media Relations Director Lindela Mashigo.
The ongoing unlawful strike action is being driven by members claiming to be affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
An internal memorandum issued by the Acting Tshwane City Manager instructs employees to refrain from participating in the strike and to return to their posts immediately because continued participation in the protest action is illegal.
“The city is in the process of systematically addressing the service delivery blockages to ensure we adequately respond to the backlogs that we are experiencing,” said Mashigo.
The majority of the City of Tshwane employees are performing their duties while isolated groups are attempting to disrupt the work of the administration.
Meanwhile, a letter from Samwu addressed to the city manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng, seen by The Citizen indicates that the union has distanced itself from the striking workers.
“Samwu has not called for any strike action within the City,” said the union’s regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane.
Samwu alleges in the letter that striking staff are ‘Capacity workers’ who’d been demanding that their contracts be changed to permanent employment.
“This was after the City had, on 11 March 2022, issued a Corporate communication that they will be reviewing a Bargaining Council award to reinstate 89 Capacity employees.
“It is, therefore, wrong for you to allege that the said action witnessed today at Pretoria West Waste depot was Samwu strike. This former Capacity employees were demanding that they be permanently appointed,” stated the union.
Samwu further accused the acting City Manager of political posturing in order to gain the support of the DA-led coalition government.
“We suspect that there is a deliberate intention by your office to dismiss employees in pursuit of privatizing the City.
Samwu has also been reliably informed that this is part of a bigger plan for you to ascend to the highest administrative position in the City,” said Tladinyane.