City of eThekwini fires 88 workers after violent protests

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda briefed the media on progress and said the City was acting against those involved. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda briefed the media on progress and said the City was acting against those involved. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 14, 2024


Workers in the eThekwini Municipality, who took part in violent protests which crippled service delivery and left one employee dead, will be taken to task by the municipality with some of them having already been sacked.

The City on Wednesday revealed that 88 workers have been fired and more are being put through disciplinary processes.

This, as the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an NPO that represents organised business in Durban, has raised concerns about the impact of the strike, saying it is deeply disturbed by the negative economic consequences.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda on Wednesday briefed the media on progress and said the City was acting against those involved.

The illegal strike began on February 27. It crippled service delivery with refuse left to pile up in people’s houses and on the city streets; and water and electricity faults were not attended to, leaving residents without services for prolonged hours.

Employees not taking part in the strike were attacked. One person died and police are investigating two other cases of attempted murder.

“To date 81 employees are on precautionary suspension for misconduct committed during the illegal strike, while 1 891 employees have been given notices of misconduct and 88 employees have been dismissed for their participation in the unlawful industrial action,” Kaunda said in a statement.

Several of those facing disciplinary action will appear for their disciplinary hearing during the week, he said, adding that they are working hard to restore normality.

“As of yesterday (Tuesday), we have started to see the majority of employees returning to work, particularly at the engineering, electricity and water and sanitation units.

“We are confident that today the number has increased which gives us hope that the service delivery challenges we have been facing will now be resolved.

“We anticipate that we will be able to clear the waste backlog within two weeks, especially in the vast southern region of the City from uMlazi up to uMkhomazi.

“We are pleased that the resumption of refuse removal services has started, with 80% of our depots fully operational,” said the mayor.

“Regarding electricity, we are pleased to report that our teams have been able to reduce electricity faults from 80 to 50 as of yesterday.

“Work continues to attend to all affected areas such as Westham, Dube Village, Amaoti, Westmead, Clermont, KwaNdengezi and Morningside,” he said.

Kaunda assured the residents that the City is committed to finding a permanent solution to this crisis.

City manager Musa Mbhele said the police should be given credit for the work they have done during the crises. He said the police had worked hard and escorted non-striking workers to collect refuse.

“Any semblance of cleanliness in parts of the city is due to them, otherwise this could have been a lot worse.”

The chamber in a statement urged the City to act. “We are fast approaching the Easter season in a couple of weeks and the strike action is sending a negative message to both local and international tourists.

“Many tourists will opt for alternate destinations that promise a safe, secure, and more lucrative experience.

“The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC needs to see a tangible plan on how the City plans to make city tourism ready before the Easter weekend.

“This plan must include, the clean-up of dirty streets, guaranteeing the supply of water and electricity, and addressing safety and security concerns.

“Failure to remedy the situation will lead to severe economic losses such as a decline in demand for accommodation, transport, banking, restaurants, and catering right through to entertainment and other tourist attractions,” said the statement.

The Mercury