Cape Town - A SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) meeting to discuss a possible strike against the City of Cape Town turned rowdy when some members were shown the door after they had raised questions about alleged missing union funds.
More than 1 000 Samwu members attended the meeting at the Good Hope Centre for a report-back on progress with worker grievances that the union had raised with the city.
Samwu members will meet this week at plant level to discuss the possibility of a strike.
The meeting started with Samwu’s regional secretary, Mikel Khumalo, explaining meetings the union has held with Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille since it gave her a memorandum of demands in May. The atmosphere changed when some members at the back of the hall began demanding answers to the question “what happened to the millions?”.
Things became heated when one disgruntled member approached the podium and shouted at Khumalo. The member and a union shop steward became involved in a scuffle before he and other disgruntled members were removed from the hall.
This caused unhappiness among more members at the back.
Claims that R140 million of union funds were missing were raised last month
by provincial union leaders who had been suspended after they alleged Samwu national leaders had misused funds. Samwu Cape Metro chairman Jonathan Krakri said allegations were not a regional issue. The region supported a Samwu investigation, he said.
“As a region we have never said that there were no missing millions or there are missing. That is why we said the matter should be investigated. We are waiting for the results right now,” Krakri said.
He said Samwu would neither tolerate ill discipline nor deal with internal issues in public and in the media.
In his report-back Khumalo said union negotiators were satisfied with De Lille’s intentions to resolve the grievances.
Mayoral committee member for corporate services Xanthea Limberg, who attended on De Lille’s behalf, said the mayor was always open to discussions with the union and encouraged workers and shop stewards to come forward regarding ill-treatment from line managers.