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[LISTEN] SAMWU Accuses City of Johannesburg of Dealing in Bad Faith

Umm Muhammed Umar

The South African Municipal Workers Union is fighting back against the decision by the City of Johannesburg to dismiss 120 employees. The DA led council took a decision on the 25th of February to rescind the permanent employment that was converted by the previous ANC administration. SAMWU deputy regional secretary, Thobani Nkosi, spoke to Radio Islam.

The City claimed that the version of the fixed term contracts to permanent was illegal by the previous mayoral committee, as it had no power to do that. Nkosi, however, said that they needed evidence that the mayoral committee had no power to undertake such an action. He said as of 2014, a number of conversions took place. Nkosi said, “there are certain employees of a particular race, meaning white, who were converted, and they are still working in the Speaker’s office and other offices.” He added, “But this time around, these employees were converted and now the DA is starting to raise issues.” He said that SAMWU felt attacked that the young professionals working for the City of Johannesburg have been told that they will have to return to being contract workers.

The affected employees had until March 2 to make representations on how the employment status should be handled. But Nkosi said that, representations were not made. He said that an extension was up to March 9 had been requested. Nkosi said, “Which that extension was not even granted in writing. We only wrote to them there was no reply.”

The posts include Chief of Staff, spokesperson, advisors and personal assistant. Nkosi said that when the political principle left, the Chief of Staff, directors, deputy directors, would leave the office, but that the highest position among the staff being dismissed by the DA led coalition, was assistant director, “going down to your driver.” He said, “This is just an injustice, and this is what we then need to live with and expect always (when) the DA takes over government, especially in Johannesburg, because they did it in 2017.”

Regarding whether the employment of the staff involved was being terminated, or simply the nature of their contracts changed, Nkosi said, “By the look of things the decision has been taken to terminate them, because some of them are not allowed to access their workstation, or tools of trade were taken away from them.”

Nkosi said that the DA led council was either being disingenuous, or was not dealing with SAMWU in good faith.

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