Johannesburg - The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is set to go on strike; sending Johannesburg into a total blackout, City Power warned on Thursday.
The city’s power supplier said in a statement that it was concerned about the union’s media statement’s threatening what it says will be an unprotected strike.
In a statement, SAMWU said it had issued the power utility with notice of its intention to go on a “full blown strike “ from October 19.
“The strike action will result in a total blackout of Johannesburg and all its suburbs.”
The union alleges City Power has “failed to address issues relating to corruption levelled against” MD Sicelo Xulu.
SAMWU did not explain what these allegations relating to corruption were about. However, press reports from 2013 indicate that an independent probe had cleared Xulu from allegations of corruption relating to the award of a R1.25 billion tender for smart meters.
City Power says the pending strike “constitutes a threat of sabotage against the company and the residents of Johannesburg”.
In its statement it adds it has been declared a national key point.
“Any individual threatening to switch off the network illegally will be liable for prosecution. The rendering of electricity supply services by City Power is also classified as an essential service and the disruption of the electricity supply by a strike action is unlawful.”
The utility also adds that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has not issued a certificate allowing the strike action.
“City Power is aware that some SAMWU members employed by the entity were misled with claims suggesting that a strike certificate has been issued.”
The utility also notes that SAMWU’s allegations that it is unwilling to address allegations of improper conduct are incorrect.
“City Power perceives the threat by the trade union as criminal and not in the interest of the entire union membership as well as the people of Johannesburg.
“In light of previous sabotage on the network, City Power has taken steps to protect the network and will pursue criminal action where necessary.”IOL