Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize alleged that the workers were sacrificial lambs to cover up corruption by senior managers.
Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize alleged that the workers were sacrificial lambs to cover up corruption by senior managers.

Cosatu accuses ANC of betraying sacked KZN municipal workers

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Sep 14, 2020

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Durban - Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal has accused its alliance partner, the ANC, of betrayal and not caring about the plight of workers.

The union is outraged that the party had not intervened in the dismissal of 344 workers, by the Newcastle Local Municipality and the Ugu District Municipality.

Late last year, the Newcastle municipality sacked about 233 workers for embarking on a violent strike over overtime pay.

Earlier this year, Ugu dismissed more than 100 workers who had participated in an illegal strike.

The federation called for these decisions to be reversed.

Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize alleged that the workers were sacrificial lambs to cover up corruption by senior managers.

“We are aghast by the attitude displayed by the ruling party against these workers.”

He said that before the lockdown, the union had said it had planned a protest march to the premier’s office, but had to delay the action. Seeing that still no action had been taken to resolve the situation, it would march to the premier’s office.

“This is betrayal of the highest order, to workers and their trade union movement. It is showing a middle finger for all the sacrifice, commitment and the role workers have played in the liberation of the people of South Africa. Appeal and arbitration, processes and outcomes have not been kept. Delaying tactics are being used as stratagems to frustrate workers, with a high level of arrogance displayed by officials and public representatives,” said Mkhize.

He said the ANC acted decisively on high-profile cases affecting some of its public representatives in municipalities and government, while the workers in these two municipalities had been hopelessly left without any decisive intervention.

Mkhize said workers should not be victimised or used by politicians to lobby for positions of power in the ANC.

“The ANC national executive committee’s intervention on Zandile Gumede’s matter has shown the ANC does have capacity to resolve matters of interest. Therefore, we demand the same zeal and energy to apply in addressing the matter of these workers, who are breadwinners of their families,” said Mkhize.

ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said he was surprised at the statements by Cosatu, as the parties had set up a task team to intervene in both matters.

“The work of the task team had to stop, as the workers had taken the matter to court - as it is their right. We had to allow for that process to be completed first,” he said.

Head of communication in the Newcastle Municipality, Mlungisi Khumalo, said they had not engaged on the issue of the dismissed workers.

“The workers escalated the matter of their dismissal to court and it is, therefore, sub judice and the municipality cannot comment,” said Khumalo.

Attempts to get comment from Ugu District Municipality were unsuccessful yesterday.

The Mercury

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