Up in arms about their demands not being fulfilled, Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality employees have embarked on a strike.
A seven percent increment was meant to be added onto the salaries of the workers from July but due to the financial status of the municipality, this was not carried out.
Last Thursday, municipal staff refused to work after Administrator Thandolwethu Manda allegedly informed the staff that due to the lack of funds, there would not be an increase in their salaries.
Municipal workers abandoned their duties for the day and exited the civic building, opting to stay outside. The strike has had a direct impact on the residents, as service delivery has come to a standstill.
According to a source who did not want to be named due to being employed at the municipality, three weeks ago Mr Manda called an informal meeting with management and Executive Committee (EXCO) members.
At this meeting Mr Manda raised the increment issue and resolutions were jointly made. Political party leaders and municipal staff had to also engage on the matter of all mechanical work being done in-house, decreasing the number of body guards as of September and all municipal vehicles have to park off at the end of each working day.
These cost cutting measures are part of Mr Manda’s turnaround strategy for the municipality; however, according to the source, the requested engagements were not made.
One other recommendation was to apply for an exemption from the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). On Friday morning, the staff and unions were addressed by Mr Manda but no consensus was reached.
It was revealed that the municipality will only reach financial stability in March 2019. At the time of going to print, it was unclear whether the strike will end soon or what the way forward is.
Several attempts were made to reach the Municipal Manager, Mr Mkhize who is reportedly in Cape Town on allegedly ‘unapproved leave’ since the beginning of the strike.
The Mayor, Jabulile Mbele was reached after numerous calls and said she was only able to comment on late Tuesday afternoon.
The Estcourt News called the municipality’s communications department various times on both a cell phone and office telephone number, the calls went unanswered.
So for now Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality employees, together with their unions, beg to know when their salaries will budge.