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Union calls for NC municipality to be placed under administration

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The SA Municipal Workers Union in the Northern Cape has called for !Kheis Local Municipality to be placed under administration as salaries have not been paid since December last year.

THE SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in the Northern Cape has called for !Kheis Local Municipality to be placed under administration as salaries have not been paid since December last year.

Samwu provincial secretary Lawrence Fennie said that employees were advised in a circular that salaries would once again be delayed for February.

“The municipality’s failure to meet its contractual obligations has subjected employees to unbearable economic conditions and hardships. Workers last received their salaries in December 2023,” said Fennie.

“The non-payment of salaries has placed many workers in a precarious situation, facing harassment from creditors who demand adherence to credit agreements. Workers are at risk of having their vehicles and homes repossessed by creditors, exacerbating their financial distress.”

Fennie added that workers were still expected to continue providing services to the residents of !Kheis, “on an empty stomach”.

“Workers are being compelled to deliver services while their own children attend school hungry and some are forced to endure long walks due to unpaid transportation.

“The dire situation in !Kheis highlights the lack of effective inter-governmental relations in the Province. Provincial government, which is supposed to oversee municipal functioning, has seemingly stood by idle while workers endure economic hardships, poverty, hunger and starvation. The functionality and service delivery capacity of !Kheis is now jeopardised as hungry workers struggle to provide essential services.”

Fennie was alarmed by the high turnover rate of municipal managers at the municipality, where no corresponding improvements were visible in service delivery.

“We urgently call for the immediate payment of workers’ salaries at !Kheis Local Municipality and intervention by provincial government, to place the municipality under administration. This situation cannot be allowed to persist any longer.”

Northern Cape Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Tebogo Monyo said they had to establish if any formal engagements had taken place between the provincial government and Samwu and referred further enquiries to the municipality.

The municipality has not responded to media enquiries.

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