As service delivery continues to fail across Tshwane, amid a prolonged wage dispute between the municipality and workers, some fed-up residents have threatened to boycott payment of municipal bills.
For months now, uncollected waste has piled along many streets in the Pretoria CBD, the heavily-populated Sunnyside area, townships and suburbs.
IOL reported last month that the City of Tshwane had lost its bid to be exempted from paying salary increases to workers.
The application for exemption failed at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC), a move which was welcomed by the SA Municipal Workers Union.
For months now, the union’s members have been engaging in an ongoing unprotected strike, demanding a 5.4 percent salary increase for 2023/2024 financial year, which Tshwane insists it cannot afford.
Speaking to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika on Thursday morning, chairperson of the Lotus, Atteridgeville, Saulsville Civic Society (Lasca), Tshepo Mahlangu said with the failing service delivery, residents cannot be expected to be paying rates.
“The problem that we are encountering now is that we are in the ongoing strike by Samwu workers and we are not receiving any services from the City of Tshwane. Everybody knows that the capital city is not receiving services. So, it is very difficult for us to pay for services that are not rendered,” said Mahlangu.
“It is daylight robbery. We are putting a full stop to it, until the city comes to the round-table. They are avoiding to come to the boardroom to avoid resolving some issues.”
Mahlangu said the currently, consultancy firms are thriving in Tshwane, being given contracts to do the work which is supposed to be done by municipal workers.
“As you enter Tshwane, from the CBD, suburbs and more especially townships, all the entrances are very filthy. The waste is piling up and now it is a health hazard to our grannies and general communities. Imagine people with chronic illnesses surviving under these inhumane environments,” he said.
“For years now, the City of Tshwane has been run by certain syndicates which are the consultancy firms, running the city to the ground. They use all the resources, offices vehicles, fuel and they have protection from the Tshwane Metro Police Department.”
He said the service delivery problems in Tshwane pre-date the Samwu strike.
Last month, City of Tshwane announced that it will launch an appeal after the SA Local Government Bargaining Council dismissed a “frivolous” application to be exempted from implementing a wage deal reached in the council on September 15, 2021, as part of a three-year salary and wage agreement.
Spokesperson for the City of Tshwane, Selby Bokaba said the metro was “disappointed” by the council’s ruling.
On the other hand, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union has welcomed the SALGBC ruling, adding that Tshwane’s application was “frivolous”. The union called on Tshwane to “immediately” pay the workers’ salary increases.