Durban – The Municipal and Trade Union South Africa (Matusa) is demanding an apology from eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda after he called workers lazy.
In a recorded interview with a radio station, Kaunda attributed the problems in the city to the laziness of the staff whom he said were coming and leaving work early and absconding from work.
In the interview Kaunda added that some of the workers were not coming to work without official sick or annual leave.
In the 2 minutes and 27 seconds clip the mayor is also heard warning workers that they will be paid as per hours they had worked which will drastically reduce their monthly salaries.
“We have implemented a new system for the workers in eThekwini where we will pay workers according to hours they have worked. We have realised that the city is in this mess because workers were behaving as if they work for their uncles,”he said in the interview.
“We have realised that there are people who are lazy and some do not come to work without having applied for leave. Besides deducting their salaries we are going to dismiss people. We are no longer talking now but it's time to act,” said the mayor in the clip.
The union, Matusa national deputy general secretary Thulani Ngwenya said workers were very angry and called on him to publicly apologise and withdraw his words.
“Kaunda was reckless and was wrong to blame for the mess in the city. It was not true that workers were lazy and not doing their job because it was the incompetence of the management and supervisors that the city had hired that were failing to do their jobs,” Ngwenya said.
He added that the mayor must produce evidence that workers were being absent without official leave, arguing that the union should have known if there were members facing disciplinary charges because they would have informed him and to be represented.
“We regard the mayor's utterances as insults unless he gives us proof of what he has said in the interview. Workers cannot be used as scapegoats for the failures of the mayor and his management,” said Ngwenya.
Kaunda’s spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa had not responded to questions sent to him.
Furthermore, Ngwenya said he has also written to the station news manager to demand a right to reply to what the mayor accused workers for.