File picture: Independent Media
Durban - TENSION between unions and the Ugu Municipality is rising as both sides stick to their guns over numerous issues such as alleged corruption and an investigation by the Hawks.

Last week the Daily News reported that Ugu workers had embarked on a protest over perceived corruption and called for the municipality to be put under administration, among other demands. 

The protests resulted in acting Ugu mayor Phumlile Mthiyane having to calm down the angry SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members. Discussions took place between the two parties last week, but the result of these discussions was interpreted in different ways.

Ugu spokesperson France Zama said they had discussions with the union where guidelines on the programme of action were given by the municipality. “ And we are hoping that after this meeting, labour stability will be retained,” he said.

Last week, Zama had issued a statement that the municipality had been held to ransom by the union over the past few weeks. This had caused problems in service delivery and was an inconvenience for residents, he said.

“The municipal leadership has noted with disdain the unbecoming conduct by our workers who, despite all efforts made to create a conducive working environment, have resorted to abandoning their workplace in pursuit of an unpalatable course... Despite efforts made by the municipality in addressing the workers’ issues, Samwu has resorted to becoming delinquents of due processes which regulate the municipality in pursuit of their preconceived agenda which seeks to force the municipality to make determination on unsubstantiated allegations of corruption,” he said.

Zama added it was not true that the municipality would struggle to pay the salaries of workers, as had been rumoured. Last week, he had told the Daily News that the municipality did not have the powers to put itself under administration.

Samwu Ugu district chairperson Mthandeni Ngcobo took a different view and said talks between the parties had not gone well. He said they were not happy with the municipality’s responses as it would not accede to their requests such as suspending officials including city manager DD Naidoo. Because of the outcome of the meeting between the parties, Ngcobo said they would liaise with union members and would compile their own evidence to hand over to the Hawks.

He also denied they were holding the municipality to ransom.

“All we want is accountability” he said.

Daily News