Ricochet News

Metro says weekend power outage in Motherwell and other recent disruptions 'man-made'

Oct 30, 2017
Metro says weekend power outage in Motherwell and other recent disruptions 'man-made'

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Monday acknowledged that residents in the Motherwell area have been severely affected by service delivery disruptions over recent weeks, but blamed sabotage for the disruptions.

According to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Communications and Media Management Officer, Mthubanzi Mniki, the service delivery disruptions were underpinned by what he termed residual resistance among municipal workers against Overtime Policy amendments by the municipality.

“These Overtime Policy amendments were necessitated by an Auditor-General query to the effect that the overtime over a number of years was incorrectly applied. As a result, a significant portion of the annual budget was paid irregularly to employees above the prescribed annual salary threshold,” Mniki said.

He added that the regulations will result in cost saving, which will be used to create employment opportunities in critical vacancies for local communities.

“The amendments sought to address these anomalies, but have regrettably been met with resistance by pockets of staff members who feel that their overtime benefits are being curtailed, leading to the aforementioned service delivery disruptions," he explained.

“To dispel perceptions that the municipality is refusing to pay employees for overtime worked, it should be noted that no employee rights protected in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Collective Agreement are being compromised or tampered with as a result of the aforementioned review of the Overtime Policy."

In essence, the amendments made to the NMBM Overtime Policy can be summarised as follows:

  • All employees below the annual salary threshold of R205 433 as determined by the Minister of Labour will be remunerated in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Collective Agreement. There is no change in this regard.
  • With regard to emergencies, all qualifying employees, excluding Directors, will be remunerated in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act provisions and Collective Agreement. There is no change in this regard.
  • All employees above the aforestated annual salary threshold shall be paid on a straight-line basis, except in case of emergencies.

“The Municipality has given the reassurance that it will not tolerate the sabotage of service delivery by disgruntled employees and is instituting both criminal and internal investigations to identify and act against the culprits.

“The institution sincerely apologises to residents for the inconvenience they have suffered because of the service delivery disruptions over recent weeks and humbly appeals for their patience and understanding while normalcy is being pursued. The municipality will do all in its power to ensure the smooth and efficient running of services within the institution," Mniki said.

"The evaluation of the municipality to date has revealed that these disruptions and outages to the services has largely been man-made and malicious. Therefore the public is encouraged to report any suspicious tampering of municipal services.”

On Monday, residents from Ward 54 blocked off the R335 in protest over the weekend power outages.

Although police had to use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protestors, by lunch time, the blockade had been lifted after power was restored to the affected areas