Despite Thursday’s disruption of operations at the uMngeni Municipality, the South African Municipal Worker Union (Samwu) denied that its members at the council were on strike.
Local Samwu chairperson, Nkululeko Maphanga, said the workers were simply “keeping an eye” on people coming into the municipality’s offices. “They wanted to ensure that the municipal manager (MM) Thembeka Cibane didn’t come in, as the workers have realised that she was to blame for the corruption and poor service delivery at the municipality. So, it is not true that Samwu members at the municipality are on strike,” he said.
This followed Wednesday’s ANC announcement that Cibane would be going on special leave.
Service delivery at the municipality had been brought to a standstill due to an ANC members’ week-long protest, which ended on Wednesday.
The ANC protestors, who have accused the municipality’s leadership of corruption and nepotism, have been calling for Cibane’s removal.
Since Monday last week the ANC protestors have been blocking roads and preventing residents from accessing the municipality’s offices.
The protracted protest was beginning to take a toll on service delivery, with garbage beginning to pile on the streets as the municipality’s workers were unable to collect refuse.
Maphanga said the municipality’s workers welcomed the ANC provincial leadership’s announcement that Cibane would be taking special leave.
“As the workers, we hope that her leave would be a permanent one,” he said.
Cibane, whose special leave according to the ANC leadership was due to start today, had not been reporting to work in recent days.
The municipal mayor, Sizwe Sokhela, also denied that the council’s employees were on strike.
“As far as we know, all the workers are at work. Even those protestors who have been blocking the entrance to the municipality’s offices have left, everything is back to normal.
“From tomorrow [Friday] we will be going out in full force cleaning the streets as part of efforts to restore service delivery which had been disrupted by the protest,” he said.