SAMWU urges Minister to intervene in Thabazimbi

THABAZIMBI – SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers Union) demands that the Municipal Manager, Mayor and Councilors of Thabazimbi Municipality must resign with immediate effect. These demands were set in a memorandum that was delivered to the Municipal offices following a protest march by members of Cosato and SAMWU on Thursday 14 January 2010.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, is also urged to intervene without delay and ensure that the communities of Limpopo receive basic services and the Thabazimbi Municipality be adequately capacitated, so that it may function above board as the state of the Thabazimbi Municipality is dangerously hampering service delivery in the area.

According to the memorandum R3.6 Million had gone missing from the Municipality’s account in March 2009 alone and to date nothing has been done to rectify or investigate the matter. It further states that recruitment policies are not followed in the Municipality. Councilors unashamedly interfere in the administrative duties of the Municipality, influencing the decision to appoint friends and brothers instead of suitable candidates who have the relevant qualifications and experience.

It is also of grave concern to SAMWU that even the water and sanitation in the area are not satisfactory. The state of the water and sanitation is a major concern and has to be attended to, as a matter of urgency.

SAMWU mentioned in the memorandum that they fully support the demands formulated by a COSATU local meeting held the previous week, with representation from SAMWU. The demands are as follows; that forensic investigations be done with regard to the missing R3.6 million, a forensic audit be conducted on processes that occurred unlawfully, that a case be opened against those who were responsible for embezzling funds out of the Municipality, councilors must immediately stop influencing appointments, the Municipality must with immediate effect involve all stakeholders within the Municipality, labour brokers should be done away with, houses should be built for those who are in need of it, roads must be fixed with immediate effect, water and sanitation, electricity and waste removal services must cover all the communities of the Thabazimbi Municipality, staff must be increased in all divisions and that investigations be done on issues of RDP housing.

The Municipality will be given 14 days to respond to the above mentioned demands at which stage they will also issue a press release regarding the memorandum.

In his response to the memorandum, Mr Jan Viljoen of the Thabazimbi Chairpersons Forum, said that the Forum endorses the concerns raised by SAMWU with regard to the situation which prevails in respect of service delivery within the Thabazimbi Municipal District. However not mentioned in the memorandum is the total disregard the Municipality has with regard to compliance to legislation concerning the business of local authorities. The dispute in place between the Forum and the Municipality is as a result of this.

The lack of the appointment of competent persons is a major concern to the Forum. He said that the lack of financial control which prevailed within the Municipality is due to this. This is manifested eventually in the fraud and corruption which takes place. The interference by Councilors, especially by the mayor, is a known fact, coming to the appointment of employees and can not be tolerated.

The Forum however does not support the request for an increase in the employment of persons, as indicated in the memorandum. Over the past years a culture has been entrenched within the municipality that having employment is a right, providing a service to the public is favour. Before considering any appointments, we have to remedy this situation. If not, we have more people believing that service provision to the public is a favour to the public. However, with due respect, a very limited number of municipal officials does not fall within this bracket, we as members of the Forum want to express our gratitude to those.