‘Where is our R140m, we want answers!’
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Johannesburg - Thousands of disgruntled members of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) marched through the Joburg city centre on Thursday in protest against the alleged misuse of union funds by their leaders.
They demanded that police take action against their national office-bearers (NOBs).
At the heart of their grievances is the R140 million that has gone missing from union coffers.
“Where is our R140m, we want answers!” was the message on one of the placards the protesting workers flashed.
The protesters said the march was not a “no work, no pay” situation, saying the City of Joburg had given them time off.
Marchers included workers from City Power, Johannesburg Water, Pikitup and Johannesburg Zoo.
Clad in departmental uniforms, they marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown before proceeding to Johannesburg Central Police Station to demand a progress report on their case of fraud.
A criminal case was opened against the NOBs last month.
As they were being addressed by the cluster secretary, Bafana Dube, the huge crowd danced and chanted slogans, then handed over a memorandum detailing their grievances and demands.
The memo was signed by station commander Ronnie Rajin.
“No arrests have been made yet, and the case is still under investigation,” said Rajin.
The employees said their leaders could no longer be trusted and they wanted their R65-a-month subscription fees to go into the provincial rather than national union account.
Provincial Samwu secretary Mohau Mokgatla tried to explain how the union leaders had misused the funds – estimated at R140m. He said the Samwu House building was bought for about R7m and had to be renovated for R13m.
Mokgatla said R32m had been approved for renovations, which exceeded the budget.
But the more he tried to explain, the angrier the workers became.
Mokgatla and Dube told the crowd that the misuse of union funds had been exposed by Gauteng members.
Samwu deputy general secretary Moses Miya refused to comment.