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Durban - Durban mayor James Nxumalo promised on Friday to look into striking workers' grievances and report back to them within two weeks.
“I'm asking that you give us a chance, because we are going to deal with these issues,” Nxumalo said.
He was addressing hundreds of metro police who picketed outside the municipality's offices, calling for the removal of metro police head Eugene Nzama.
They carried posters reading: “Away with incompetency of head of metro” and “Farewell Nzama”.
“We are struggling because of Nzama,” they sang.
The protesters also wanted all contract workers to be given permanent employment status; that that unqualified workers be allowed to attend training; and the reinstatement of school patrols.
“The municipality has budgeted for all its contract workers to be employed permanently and our decision still stands,” Nxumalo said.
The SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) threatened to make the city ungovernable if municipal manager Sbu Sithole did not meet their demands.
“If this is moving at a snail's pace we will make the city ungovernable,” said Samwu regional secretary Nhlanhla Nyandeni.
“Nzama must be removed and we are not willing to compromise,” he said.
Nzama returned to work on Monday after being placed on special leave earlier this year. The city's disaster management head Vincent Ngubane had replaced Nzama.
However, Nzama approached the Durban Labour Court to challenge his special leave and resumed his duties in July.
A metro police employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We don't want Nzama; he is abusing us, because he doesn't want us to be hired as permanent workers.”
Earlier Durban's main street, Dr Pixley ka Seme Road (West Street), was blocked to traffic as the group protested outside City Hall. - Sapa