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Tshwane interdicts dead, suspended workers from engaging in unprotected strike

A file picture of Tshwane municipal workers demonstrating outside Tshwane House demanding salary increases. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of Tshwane municipal workers demonstrating outside Tshwane House demanding salary increases. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 28, 2022

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Pretoria - The late Tshwane municipal worker Walter Mnguni, who died three months ago, is among the workers who were last week interdicted by the metro at the Labour Court from engaging in an unprotected strike, said the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

The union expressed shock that Mnguni was named together with other Samwu-affiliated workers in one of the annexures submitted to court by the metro.

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Regional Samwu chairperson Nkhetheni Muthavhi said: “Even people who have died were interdicted from entering municipal buildings. In annexure two there is Walter Mnguni, for example, who died three months ago and yet he is interdicted.”

One official, Phillip Sebata, who has been on suspension for two years, was also interdicted for being on strike, said Muthavhi.

“There are people who went on pension. Others have been dismissed while others have resigned, but yet they were interdicted,” he said.

On the list of shop stewards appended on court papers there was Lawrence Mahlangu, who resigned three years ago and yet he was interdicted, according to Samwu.

Muthavhi said: “People who have been at the Pretoria power station who have been at work have been interdicted.”

He accused the City of trying to suppress the union's activities by denying Samwu from convening a meeting with shop stewards on March 15.

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Last week Mayor Randall Williams announced that at least 19 workers fingered for participating in the illegal strike were issued with notices of intention to terminate their contracts. Workers were given until last Thursday to furnish the City with reasons why they should not be dismissed.

However, Williams said the court on Thursday granted the City a contempt of court order against striking workers and the leadership of the Samwu to stop the unlawful strike.

The South African Police Service and Tshwane Metro Police Department were ordered to ensure compliance with the court order.

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For almost two weeks, some workers have been on an unprotected strike, disrupting service delivery and intimidating their colleagues from rendering services to residents.

Chief of staff Jordan Griffiths declined to comment on the latest developments regarding the process to terminate workers’ contracts, saying a formal communication will be issued after the conclusion of the process. Regarding accusations that officials who were either on suspension, dismissed or dead were interdicted, Griffiths said: “If Samwu wishes to dispute the information in the City’s court papers then they should have made representation in the court on Thursday which they didn’t.”

He said the court has instructed the union to attend a hearing on April 28 to present their version.

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