News / 16 January 2020, 10:00pm / Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Durban - Fourteen Ugu District Municipality employees have been suspended after facing serious allegations of misconduct and abuse of council property.
Five workers, together with nine South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) shop stewards, were issued with a notice on Tuesday of the intention to suspend them for disrupting an internal disciplinary hearing.
According to the municipality, the disciplinary hearing was for the five municipal workers, who were found to have been in an “unauthorised” area, using municipal vehicles during normal working hours.
Municipal spokesperson France Zama said the five were then handed notices of intention to suspend them, and were called to a hearing on December 11.
Zama said shop stewards and employees were given the opportunity to make their representations on Friday, but they decided to stage a protest instead.
He said during the protest, outside the municipal offices, the workers threatened and intimidated management and staff.
“Lawlessness, intimidation, and threats will not be tolerated. The municipality will submit itself to due processes in dealing with the matter, and all parties will be afforded a chance to defend the allegations against them,” said Zama.
The municipality has been facing a lot of service delivery issues, mainly the supply of water to the South Coast communities.
Samwu, however, has said that the municipal manager Dhanapalan Naidoo is to blame for the water issues in the district, and it has called for him to be sacked.
“It is unfortunate that the union has decided to publicly condone these acts of lawlessness, and decided to confuse the public by attributing their suspension to Naidoo.
“Mr Naidoo is not involved in these processes, as he is also a complainant in this matter,” Zama pointed out.
South Coast regional chairperson of Samwu Xolani Shinga said the suspensions were one of the ways the municipality was trying to destabilise the union for calling for the municipal manager’s removal.
Shinga said they were engaging with the municipal manager’s office in addressing the fraud, corruption and misconduct allegations against him.
“With us pushing for the municipal manager to be removed because the district is dead, they decided to suspend our members who are at the forefront
“The community is suffering They don’t have water because of the failure of the municipality.
“As an accounting officer, the municipal manager must be removed,” said Shinga.
He added that they were going to meet their provincial legal team to challenge the suspensions.
“It’s an unfair suspension, and victimisation.
“The municipality should be fixing their service delivery issues, but they claim they don’t have the money, yet there is serious corruption happening in their offices,” he said.