WATCH: Thousands of municipal workers march to Tshwane House for salary increases
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Pretoria - Thousands of municipal workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers (Samwu) in Tshwane took to the Pretoria CBD streets on Tuesday to demand wage and salary increases.
Part of their demands include a salary increase of R4 000 across the board and a housing allowance of R 3 500.
Demonstrators converged at the old Putco bus depot in Marabastad and then headed to Tshwane House to deliver their memorandum of grievances.
Traffic in the inner-city was disrupted by marchers as they thronged the streets.
The SAPS and Tshwane metro police officers were on standby to maintain order and control traffic in all affected streets, which include Cowie Street, Kgosi Mampuru Street, Bosman Street, Paul Kruger Street ,Thabo Sehume Street and Lilian Ngoyi Street.
The march was staged on the back of public utterances by Tshwane Executive Mayor Randall Williams that the municipality was financially bankrupt.
Williams also expressed concerns that at least 50% of the city's budget was used to pay workers' salaries, suggesting that the move was not sustainable in the long run.
Speaking during a council sitting last week, he said: "As the City stands currently it is insolvent. We got a letter from the National Treasury that the city is insolvent. The current liability of the city amounts to R14 billion and the current assets of the city amounts to R11 bn. So that means the liability exceeds the assets by R3 bn."
On Monday, the regional Samwu secretary Mpho Tladinyane said workers wanted the Mayor to tell them what he meant when he said the City is insolvent.
"Our members are now worried that they may not receive wage increases," Tladinyane said.
Workers expressed unhappiness about the dilapidated and unsafe buildings of the municipality, the intimidation of shop-stewards by the senior managers in the city and challenges at the metro police department, among other grievances.
Meanwhile, the City has cautioned residents of possible service delivery disruptions as a result of the ongoing protest action.
"Some of our staff members have reported being unable to carry out their duties due to the protest that is underway. We are exploring various options of stabilising the situation and of safeguarding our staff to enable them to render services unhindered," the City said in a statement.
It further assured residents that law enforcement agencies would protect the personnel and municipal assets in the face of possible intimidation and threats.
"They have also undertaken to deal decisively and firmly with vandalism, thuggery, hooliganism and criminality that have characterised certain parts of the city in the past few days," the City said.