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Striking Walter Sisulu Municipality workers switch off power, block roads and disrupt Council meeting

Oct 3, 2018
Striking Walter Sisulu Municipality workers switch off power, block roads and disrupt Council meeting

Disgruntled Walter Sisulu Local Municipality workers on Wednesday again brought business to a standstill after reportedly blocking off roads in Aliwal North before proceeding to disrupt a Council Meeting in the town of Burgerdorp.

"Today, municipal offices in Aliwal North and Burgersdorp were closed and on Tuesday municipal staff blocked the road between Aliwal North and Venterstad," said Matthee Nel,  a Democratic Alliance (DA) Cllr in the Walter Sisulu Local Muncipality.

"Workers also disrupted a council meeting in Burgersdorp on Wednesday and locked councillors in the chamber."

Nel said that on Tuesday the striking workers switched off the electricity to Aliwal North and Burgersdorp.

Walter Sisulu Local Municipality workers have been striking on and off since August

"Staff members embarked on this unprotected strike after salary notch increases, in compliance with an order by the Eastern Cape Divisional Bargaining Council, were not implemented," he added.

"These increases were supposed to be paid on 1 July 2018 and staff have been striking on and off since August 2018.

"The Municipality received R17 million in transitional grant funding to ease the amalgamation process after the 2016 Local Government Elections. Apparently this grant funding was used to pay a debt owed to Eskom."

The Walter Sisulu Local Municipality was formed after the Maletswai and Gariep local municipalities were amalgamated.

Nel said that DA councillors have regularly been asking questions on how this grant was spent, as it was supposed to assist to get staff on similar salary notches.

"After amalgamation it was negotiated that the Municipality must pay a total increase of R910 000 to its staff.

"The Walter Sisulu Local Municipality is broke and the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Fikile Xasa, placed the Municipality under administration in February 2018," he added.

 "The DA Caucus in Walter Sisulu Local Municipality has written to Vicky Knoetze MPL, DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for COGTA, and she will submit questions for written reply to MEC Xasa in the Provincial Legislature."

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