Local news

Tshwane bus drivers claim depot not conducive for work

“The investigator is yet to be appointed. The duration of the investigation, that remains unknown.”

It is unclear when the metro investigation into “unpleasant experiences” at C De Wet Tshwane bus service (TBS) depot in Pretoria Central will start.

The metro this week said it had yet to appoint an investigator.

The “unpleasant experiences” recently led a bus drivers’ union to embark on a two-day illegal strike.

Commuters were harshly left stranded in the afternoon, including learners writing mid-year exams.

The “unpleasant experiences” the drivers were protesting including occupational health and safety (OHS) concerns, overtime pay, and the proposed shift system among other matters.

Tshwane South African municipal workers union (Samwu) deputy secretary Valentine Matlala said the strike action was due to all their attempts to engage Tshwane on their grievances had been met with deafening silence.

Tshwane bus drivers claim depot not conducive for work
Tshwane Samwu deputy secretary Valentine Matlala.

Matlala said the drivers had a departmental labour management forum where union members and city officials met to engage on labour matters.

“We have this forum which should sit once a month to discuss all operational issues, however, this meeting is not taking place.

“I would not be exaggerating to say it’s been over a year whereby we have not sat.

“We have been writing to officials to request meetings, however, this has been a struggle since last year.”

Matlala alleged a senior manager in the metro was the reason the once-a-month meetings were no longer held.

He said there was a lot of regression at TBS due to managerial effectiveness and the run-down bus depots.

“The cleaners, drivers, general workers and admin workers do not have functioning ablution facilities.”

He said in the two-storey building, the only functioning latrines were closed to senior officials’ workstations.

According to Matlala, the drivers had even begun using outside walls to relieve themselves, due to insufficient functioning latrines.

“We have evidence of this. A senior member from Tshwane group human capital was sent to check and he was astounded with what he found and further urged us to send pictures to the city manager – which we did.”

He said other OHS concerns were due to poor lighting at the facility.

“It is dark in the walkways, while the workshop where buses are repaired is not well-lit. The place is dark!

“The only source of light is the sun – in the morning while still dark, the drivers are unable to work or walk around parts of the facility.”

He said drivers complained that:

1. they were not consulted before the shift system was approved.
2. buses that suffered a minor breakdown are out of service for about a month awaiting repairs hence the few buses on the road and unsatisfactory commuter service.
3. lifts had not worked for three years and this restricted the movement of the disabled members of staff.
4. fire extinguishers have not been serviced since 2021.

“This building is an occupational hazard,” said Matlala.

Tshwane bus drivers claim depot not conducive for work
Fire extinguisher allegedly not serviced.

Tshwane bus drivers claim depot not conducive for work

Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said Tshwane had sought outside help to probe the grievances.

“The investigator is yet to be appointed. The duration of the investigation that, remains unknown.”

He said the metro deemed the OHS grievances serious.

“The city is not in a position to entertain any issues in respect of the recent stay away as this may jeopardise the investigation.”

He said the independent investigator was tasked with finding a practical solution to the problem acceptable to all parties.

“While this process takes place, the drivers agreed to continue to work,” he said.

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