Ikwezi municipality wage protest resolved

BY CHARL BOSCH - JULY 6, 2015

Calm has reportedly returned to the Karoo town of Jansenville after municipal employees staged a protest outside the office of the troubled Ikwezi Local Municipality, due to unpaid salaries amounting to R1.8-million.

Speaking to RNews, Democratic Alliance (DA) council representative, Johnny Lewis, said around 70 officials, ranging from general cleaners to councillors, started gathering outside the municipality from 08h30, turning over rubbish bins and singing songs out of protest for not receiving their salaries by June 25th as promised.

The latest incident comes two months after the municipality, which also includes the towns of Klipplaat and Waterford, indicated that the pay out of salaries would be problematic following its placement under administration on various allegations ranging from poor service delivery, to wide-scale financial irregularities.

“In this case, the administration was not honest with council during our meetings. They never brought it to our attention that they did the deductions from various third parties, but in doing so, failed to make payments to the suppliers,” Lewis said.

He also stated that the oversight had resulted in a total collapse of personal policies, including that of embattled Mayor, Sizwe Mngwevu, and that the matter could have been averted had council been informed properly.

“The financial department has however indicated that everyone would be receiving their salaries tonight, but if we as council were told about this, dealing with it could have done properly,” he said, adding that no problems are expected from July onwards.

“We did ask the workers to be patient and they had been until today, but we understand their frustrations. We are all in the same boat and we all have families to feed”.

Lewis also remarked that while no damage was caused, the area had been littered with rubbish despite an agreement being reached with council that the mess would be cleaned-up either today or tomorrow.