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Union to lay charges against ex-members

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The Samwu members were expelled in March 2017, with effect from October 2016, where they had appealed to the Sol Plaatje Municipality in November 2016 not to recognise the new leadership under Mdhluli.

Picture: James Mahlokwane

THE NATIONAL office of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) will be laying charges of contempt of court against expelled Samwu members in the Northern Cape, who insist that they are still the legitimate provincial leadership.

Samwu national general secretary, Simon Mathe, pointed out that there was only one structure that was recognised by the union.

“There are no parallel structures – the current leadership is headed by the provincial secretary, Benjamin Mdhluli.

“We have not received any appeal from the expelled members and will be laying charges against the expelled members. These people are creating havoc as they have not managed to form new unions.”

Mdhluli had previously complained that the expelled Samwu members were permitted to hold meetings under the banner of the union and given authority to make decisions by the municipality, while the legitimate leaders were being sidelined.

Speaking on behalf of the expelled Samwu shop stewards, Abraham Lekwene stated that “no one had been expelled” as due processes had not been followed.

“Mdhluli took it upon himself to expel us. We don’t need to take any steps to clear our names because we were never expelled. We are the leadership that is recognised by Sol Plaatje Municipality.”

The Samwu members were expelled in March 2017, with effect from October 2016, where they had appealed to the Sol Plaatje Municipality in November 2016 not to recognise the new leadership under Mdhluli.

“He (Mdhluli) is undermining our leadership and he must not be welcomed if he is not accompanied by the local office bearers of Sol Plaatje Municipality.”

Lekwene added that members had made a mandate to declare that the 10 employees who are to be reinstated into the political offices of the Speaker and mayor, after they won an unfair dismissal case, could be employed at an entry-level salary, if they wished to be absorbed as permanent staff.

“While we were busy with negotiations, we received letters of expulsion.

“The members only recognise us as we were elected by the majority and we are continuing to run our operations alongside the newly-elected leadership.

“Under our guidance, we have reduced the number of contract appointments to 86, where 214 workers have found permanent employment. We succeeded in contract workers receiving 13th cheques. The situation remains volatile.”

Lekwene said that they would hold their annual general meeting on a date to be determined at the city hall next week.

Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, advised the union to resolve its differences as a matter of urgency.

“The sooner it is resolved the better, as it is creating problems in the workplace. We do not wish to become drawn into divisions. We recognise the leadership that was formally presented to council. Whoever the legitimate leadership is, must respect the rules and the laws.”

Matsie added that in terms of the collective agreement, any representative trade union was entitled to hold meetings at the workplace during working hours, provided that the date and time was approved by Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“The number of meetings is, however, limited as it can impact on service delivery.”