New leadership of Umngeni Municipality, Mayor elect Chris Pappas and Deputy Mayor Elect Sandile Mnikathi. Picture: Supplied.
New leadership of Umngeni Municipality, Mayor elect Chris Pappas and Deputy Mayor Elect Sandile Mnikathi. Picture: Supplied.

Umngeni Municipality staff ’won’t be victimised’, says new leadership

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Nov 11, 2021

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DURBAN - THE incoming leadership of uMngeni Municipality has urged municipal staff members not to panic about their jobs, saying no staffers will be victimised, or fired without cause.

The municipality said workers would go through a skills audit and the council’s organogram was likely to be assessed and “realigned”.

In a telephonic interview with The Mercury yesterday with the incoming deputy mayor, Sandile Mnikathi, and in text communication with mayor-elect Chris Pappas, the DA said it would not go on a witch-hunt and fire workers willy-nilly, once it assumed power.

Pappas and Mnikathi are expected to be sworn in tomorrow. The DA seized control of the municipality in the local government elections on November 1. It’s the party’s first municipality in KwaZulu-Natal and was previously under the ANC.

Since the DA victory upset, there have been rumours that a purge would soon be under way.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said the workers were not political activists and therefore should not be dragged into political discussion. Samwu said workers knew their responsibility of serving the people of uMngeni and would continue rendering their services as per their contracts of employment. They were mature enough in separating their contract of employment responsibility and politics at large.

“There have been a lot of rumours out there that there are people that have been fired or people have resigned, that is not true,” said Mnikathi.

“Like the provincial leadership has said, the DA will work with all the workers that are willing to work with the party in the municipality,” he said.

Mnikathi said the party had plans to conduct a skills audit to determine what skills were available and which skills were needed. He said experience would also be considered under the skills banner, not just qualifications.

He warned, however, that workers who misrepresented their qualifications when they applied for jobs could face serious consequences.

“That is fraud and a matter for the law-enforcement agencies.”

He said in cases where the municipality had to take steps against workers, it would follow the labour laws.

Pappas said: “A skills audit is not something new to governance. We would like to know we have relevant capacity, skills and experience in the municipality to deliver services.”

“The rumours of resignations are false. We do, however, recommend that those who know they have been involved in corruption over the years should rather find employment elsewhere. This is obviously the minority of the officials, there are many more people who want to get the work done and deliver to the people of uMngeni,” said Pappas.

Samwu regional secretary in uMgungundlovu, Linda Gcabashe, said there were no workers who were known to them to have been fired or who had opted to resign since the announcements of results.

“The union has heard rumours that the new leadership is intending to do a skills audit, but there is no official statement from the municipality and not even inaugurated leadership of uMngeni,” he said.

Gcabashe said should the skills audit happen to be true, their main concern was that it might result in the changes of conditions of service for municipal workers, which would then be against collective bargaining.

“We will have a purely employeremployee relationship in uMngeni Local Municipality and will keep on striving to fight for the financial emancipation and workers rights like we have always been doing,” he said.

THE MERCURY

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