Samwu demands handed over

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Independent Newspapers

Samwu members overturn rubbish bins in the middle of the street during their protest march. Picture: Masi Losi.

The SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) on Friday demanded access to the full Manase forensic audit report on fraud and corruption in the eThekwini municipality.

Speaking ahead of a march by municipal workers in Durban, Samwu's regional secretary Nhlanhla Nyandeni said the union's leadership had yet to receive a copy of the report.

“We want a copy of that report to see what is happening.”

It was one of the demands contained in a memorandum handed over at the Durban City Hall on Friday.

He said the union had been demanding a copy of the report from KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube for some time.

“If Cogta persistently fails to pressurise the municipality to release a full report, that leaves us with a perception that Cogta is protecting the individuals implicated therein, which stands to disappoint us as a progressive union,” the memorandum reads.

The eThekwini municipality has refused to release the full Manase report.

Dube released an abridged version in February. The city was supposed to have release the full version in July.

The Manase probe was instituted after Auditor General Terence Nombembe said in his 2009/10 report that R532 million had been irregularly spent by the eThekwini municipality.

It found that 10 councillors had interests in entities which conducted business with the municipality.

The municipal workers, who first gathered at Currie's Fountain stadium, started marching through the Durban city centre shortly after midday on Friday.

They were also protesting against the SA Local Government Association's (Salga) intention to appeal against a labour court ruling.

Earlier this year, the labour court upheld a wage agreement signed in April 2010. Under the agreement, some workers would receive back pay from September 2009.

In the memorandum Samwu demands that if positions in the municipality have to be filled in an acting capacity, they be filled “in line with (a) transformative agenda”.

It called for the “undue, long-term acting (capacity) of our white colleagues in particular be terminated as a matter of urgency” and that temporary staff be made permanent.

Nyandeni questioned how it was possible for the municipality's water and sanitation department head, Neil Mcleod, to make a R700,000 donation to the school where his wife was a teacher.

Workers wanted to know whether the city's current police chief, Eugene Nzama, had the necessary qualifications to hold his post.

Dozens of police officers, Nyala riot vehicles, and a water cannon accompanied the marchers.

Toward the end of the march some rubbish bins were overturned. One inebriated marcher had to be restrained by marshalls. Some workers had to push the bakkie carrying their sound system after it broke down in Yusuf Dadoo Street (formerly Grey Street).

The memorandum was handed to eThekweni mayor James Nxumalo, who promised that his executive committee would look into their complaints. - Sapa


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