RUSTENBURG - Unpaid workers at Bojanala Platinum District Municipality in North West closed major roads leading in and out of Rustenburg on Wednesday.
They were demanding to be paid their July salaries. The municipality did not pay workers after the provincial treasury withheld its equitable share grant.
Workers closed the intersection of Oliver Tambo and Beyers Naude drive with burning tyres. Oliver Tambo Drive leads traffic onto the R104 to Pretoria and the R24 to Magaliesburg and Johannesburg.
The intersection of Nelson Mandela and Beyers Naude was also closed with tyres and rocks. Nelson Mandela Drive leads traffic through Rustenburg to Swartruggens and the Sun City resort.
Police and municipal traffic officers removed objects from the road before opening it to traffic.
South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) North West provincial deputy secretary, Vanguard Mokwena, said the protest was a precursor to rolling mass action planned for Friday.
"Workers were not paid on July 25, and have decided to withdraw their labour until such time they are paid," he said.
"We are informed that the MEC [for local government Gordon Kegakilwe] and the office of the premier are meeting to resolve the issue of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality."
The secretary of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) in the municipality, Gladwell Rangata, said there were other issues affecting workers, but they had decided to focus on salaries. A programme of action had been established together with Samwu, said Rangata.
"We have taken a decision as the majority union in the municipality that we should go to meet the leadership of the province and the leadership of our municipality," he said.
The provincial treasury said that following last week’s working session with the nine municipalities whose equitable shares were withheld, it was satisfied that six had complied with set conditions. They would have their funds released by Friday.
As a pre-condition for the release of the money, municipalities had to convene special council meetings to adopt 12 resolutions in line with treasury's directive.
The compliant municipalities were Ditsobotla, Kgetlengrivier, Naledi, Mamusa, Madibeng and Tswaing.
"We are happy that the six municipalities have complied with all the set conditions and this will lead to the release of the equitable share. Importantly, this will ensure the delivery of basic services to communities as municipalities will be able to meet their financial obligations," said finance MEC Motlalepula Rosho.
Bojanala Platinum District Municipality adopted 10 of the 12 resolutions and further engagements between it and provincial treasury were continuing, said Rosho.
"Part of the engagement with the district municipality includes discussions relating to the return of the R134 million which was erroneously transferred to the district municipality by the then department of local government and human settlement in March 2019," she said.
Maquassi Hills and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality were yet to convene their respective council meetings and adopt the resolutions as directed by provincial treasury. Consequently, their equitable shares remain delayed.
As part of the support programme, the provincial treasury is engaging both municipalities to ensure compliance with the directives .