Six South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members have been placed on special leave for disrupting a council meeting at the Oudtshoorn Municipality last month.
The disgruntled members reportedly stormed the council chambers, preventing councillors from leaving the hall until they had read their memorandum to the mayor.
The union members said they were concerned about alleged illegal practises by both the council and the administration in the municipality, and could no longer remain silent.
Samwu secretary Amy Sylvester said the council was “blatantly undermining the selection and recruitment policy of the municipality”.
“The office manager of the deputy mayor was appointed as area manager for Dysselsdorp and De Rust without any process – with a salary increase.
“We confronted the municipal manager and executive mayor regarding this matter.
“The candidate appointed does not have any managerial experience nor is (the person) in possession of the minimum competency qualification.
“This political deployment will damage all systems that have been put in place to deliver services to already poor and neglected communities,” she said.
Sylvester said the union leadership would meet this week to discuss a way forward.
The municipality suspended all shop stewards and based on the next steps, we will have a meeting later in the week. The Labour Court has on numerous decisions cautioned employers on issues of unfair suspension because of its detrimental impact on the employee’s reputation, advancement, job security and other grounds. Situations have often arisen where an employer suspends an employee without following any procedure or comprised procedures.
“We note how in the last few years, employers, especially the Oudtshoorn municipality and local government in general, have misconstrued and misused their power for a purpose not authorised in law, and continue to do so despite applications to the courts alerting it to the illegality of this practice,” she said.
Oudtshoorn mayor Chris Mcpherson confirmed the six Samwu members in the employ of the municipality were placed on special leave while internal processes were under way.
Responding to the allegations levelled by Samwu, Mcpherson said the matter was being investigated internally: “In accordance with legal regulations, we are prohibited from disclosing information about officials.”