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Sol Plaatje firefighters put on ice

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A final decision is still pending on whether four firefighters at the Sol Plaatje Municipality will remain suspended for the next three months after they were served with suspension letters on Tuesday.

File photo. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

A FINAL decision is still pending on whether four firefighters at the Sol Plaatje Municipality will remain suspended for the next three months after they were served with suspension letters on Tuesday.

The four firefighters, three of whom are SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members while the fourth is a member of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), were notified that the decision was based on a disciplinary hearing, which they allegedly never underwent.

The local Samwu office expressed its shock on Wednesday regarding the suspensions and indicated that it did not expect this to happen following their written submissions to the acting municipal manager, Boy Dhluwayo, on November 4 and 5.

The local secretary of Samwu, Nomathamsanqa Banda, alleged that no proper procedures were followed with regards to the suspensions as the firefighters did not undergo a disciplinary hearing.

Banda said that the union had engaged with Dhluwayo on Tuesday after the letters were issued. She claimed that Dhluwayo had admitted that he did not read the submission letters that were handed to him.

Banda was of the opinion that the firefighters were being victimised for participating in a municipal strike along with other essential services workers.

“This is a clear indication that Sol Plaatje Municipality did not stick to its promise of recognising the union and its shop stewards, which was one of the reasons the strike was called off. Two of the workers are Samwu and Imatu shop stewards, while two are ordinary Samwu members,” said Banda.

She added that they are hoping for a better outcome once the acting municipal manager has read the submission letters and that the suspensions will be lifted.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie confirmed the suspensions but declined to comment further.