Tshwane municipal workers protest over state of offices, insufficient equipment
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Pretoria - Members of the Tshwane Metro Police Department and Emergency Management Services do not have sufficient vehicles and have to work from unsafe buildings.
This is according to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), which demonstrated in the Pretoria CBD yesterday.
The union said it had been raising complaints about these problems since 2020 and had not yet received a positive response.
Samwu’s Ngwako Mathabathe said members had many unattended grievances, but it bothered them that while their important work required 100% of staff to report for work at a time, their buildings were not adequately compliant with occupation health and safety standards.
Moreover, he said, members did not have sufficient vehicles to go out and work because the City was not paying the fleet service providers.
Mathabathe said: “Our buildings are truly falling apart, and we are saying that under these Covid-19 times we cannot allow our members to work like this.
“We are saying the City must at least find a better space for emergency personnel, because we are people needed on the ground to service the people of Tshwane.
“How do you bring 100% capacity to buildings that are falling apart and on top of that there are no vehicles? That means members will just sit and do nothing.
“We are saying the City must ensure that service providers who were providing vehicles are paid and on time, because right now a lot of vehicles are gone (to be serviced) and will not come back.
“The vehicles are at service stations, and the people servicing them are saying they will not release them because the City does not want to pay them.
“Remember, there are only a few vehicles that belong to the City. The majority belong to service providers who must be paid.”
City chief of staff Jordan Griffiths said the grievance regarding the fleet was new to them because they tracked fleet availability on a weekly basis, and there was no formal complaint regarding the availability of vehicles.
“In fact, we continue to make sure that the repairs at our local workshops are done speedily. The City is not facing an issue whereby we are not paying service providers. The only time we do not pay service providers is when there is a dispute over the quality of the work done, but by and large we have been satisfied with our fleet availability.
“The issue of buildings is something the City takes seriously, and we are in the process of rationalising our property portfolio so that we can create better working space and conditions for employees, by ideally moving them to different buildings or ensuring that we invest in the necessary funding to bring them (buildings) to desired standards.”
The union members said other issues they had problems with included a lack of smart cards for metro police and permits to carry firearms.
Mathabathe said some members had not been provided with new uniforms for more than 12 months.
The City said they would look into their grievances.