Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's swearing-in in Pretoria. Photo: GCIS.

RUSTENBURG - The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) welcomed the appointment of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the minister for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta).

The union's general secretary Koena Ramotlou said on Thursday they believed the inclusion of former City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau, would add value to the department as municipalities were collapsing without being provided with the necessary attention and support they need from national government.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Dlamini-Zuma as Cogta minister, with Tau and Obed Bapela as her deputies.
 
Ramotlou said first on the agenda of Cogta should be to ensure that the department intervenes in the Amahlathi municipality in the Eastern Cape which has written to workers informing them that they will not be paid their salaries for May and June, indicating that the next time municipal workers receive their salaries will be the end of July 2019.
 
"Essentially the municipality is requesting workers to render their labour for two months without pay," Ramotlou said. "The non-payment of salaries in full and on time is one of the challenges faced by municipal workers on the 25th of every month. We want the department to ensure that people are held liable for not paying municipal workers on time, while third parties such as medical aid, pension funds and funeral policies are months in arrears.

"We are interested in seeing municipalities which are functional and fulfilling their constitutional mandate of delivering services to South Africans. We will, therefore, be writing to the new minister seeking a meeting on the state of the country’s municipalities and providing solutions on how they can be salvaged in the interest of service delivery for all South Africans."

He said the union would be seeking a meeting with both Cogta and the new Finance Minister Tito Mboweni before he begins to draft the budget to ensure that municipalities are prioritised in terms of an equitable share. 

"Municipalities are expected to deliver services to almost 60 million South Africans on less than 10 percent of government expenditure. This has resulted in the challenges which we see in municipalities, challenges which are financial in nature."

He said they would also urge the department to ensure that municipalities no longer deliver services using programmes such as Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP)  and tenders for functions which were competencies of municipalities. 

"We want municipalities to employ people permanently direct without using such programmes as they are exploitative in nature and do not fundamentally change the lives of EPWP participants who are performing the same functions as those permanently employed by municipalities."

African News Agency (ANA)