Pikitup's controversial boss Amanda Nair. File picture: Supplied

Johannesburg – The City of Johannesburg on Wednesday explained why the boss at its waste-management entity, Pikitup, has not been suspended despite a litany of charges brought against her by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

Pikitup MD Amanda Nair, is accused of corruption by Samwu, whose members have been on strike for weeks.

The striking workers are demanding Nair's removal and better wages before they return to work.

Nair was cleared of corruption charges last year after she was arrested for alleged theft of the company’s official cellphones, which were allegedly irregularly issued to her and her children.

Matshidi Mfikoe, a member of the mayoral committee responsible for the environment and infrastructure services portfolio, on Wednesday said the City could not “suspend” Nair without following proper processes.

Mfikoe said there was an investigation under way into allegations made by Samwu against Nair.

Mfikoe made her remarks at a media briefing in Johannesburg, which was attended by top leadership of the Johannesburg’s City Council, including Mayor Parks Tau.

Mfikoe said under Nair’s leadership Pikitup had achieved its first clean audit in 12 years.

“Is Amanda Nair not competent? I don’t know. That is why we’ve appointed independent auditors to look into these allegations. There are processes to follow under the Labour relations Act before we can suspend anyone. We don’t want to be taken to court for unfair dismissal,” Mfikoe said, without naming the auditors the City has appointed.

Tau reiterated Mfikoe’s assertions, saying the City would wait until the investigation into Nair was completed and would not preempt it.

“We have appointed an independent company to probe the allegations and we will wait for the report first. Our view as Council is that let us receive the report first and investigate before we arrive at a determination,” Tau said.

Mfikoe, whose house was nearly set alight allegedly by striking workers, said: “Yes, there was an attempt to petrol bomb my house though there was not much damage. I am meeting the police after this briefing to hear how far they are with the investigation”.

The disciplinary hearings against 4 000 striking Pikitup workers were concluded on Tuesday and the utility was now awaiting the report.

Mfikoe said the City was hoping to reach a settlement with workers to end their strike by Friday.

African News Agency Use IOL’s Facebook and Twitter pages to comment on our stories. See links below.