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Labour union Matusa says eThekwini mayor should step down after he called workers lazy

Workers gesture as they marched in the Durban CBD.

eThekwini Municipality workers, who are members of the Municipal and Allied Trade Union of South Africa, marched in the Durban CBD yesterday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA).

Published Feb 8, 2023


Durban - The Municipal and Allied Trade Union of South Africa (Matusa), which says its members are employees of the eThekwini Municipality, have called on mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to step down.

The union that said it has been recognised as a union in the municipality, marched to city hall yesterday.

The march was held as it had submitted a memorandum with demands last August but the municipality had not responded to it, the union said.

Among other demands, they wanted a salary increment for those workers in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and they demanded workers should be provided with more resources.

Matusa KwaZulu-Natal deputy general secretary Thulani Ngwenya said Kaunda had failed the workers and should immediately vacate his mayoral position.

“Since Kaunda took over as the mayor at the eThekwini Municipality about three or four years ago, the municipality has deteriorated under his leadership. His administration is a mess, so Kaunda must go.”

Union members were not happy with some comments made by Kaunda, he said.

“Kaunda recently insulted workers saying they are lazy and that they do not want to work as the city is dirty.

“We are saying that Kaunda was wrong to call workers lazy and should have come and addressed workers properly,” Ngwenya said.

Matusa eThekwini region chairperson Sihle Vilakazi added that union members had said they did not receive support from the municipality.

“The mayor insults workers saying they are lazy. He is forgetting that he does not support those workers, and when we march to demand decent treatment from the municipality we are ignored,” said Vilakazi.

In response, eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the mayor was not planning on stepping down.

“EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is not going anywhere. Instead, he is very busy leading this organisation to live up to its constitutional mandate.

“It is also disinformation that workers have no tools to discharge their responsibilities. We view these reckless statements as nothing but desperate attempts by Matusa to grow their membership,” said Mayisela.