Some members of the union Imatu had still not received salaries by Monday morning, even though the labor court ordered the Tshwane Metro to pay all salaries no later than Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, Imatu obtained an urgent court interdict in the labor court ordering the Tshwane Metro Council to pay its members’ salaries, which have reportedly been withheld for more than a week. Tshwane has withheld the salaries of all workers who participated in an illegal strike in the city in recent weeks.
Hundreds of municipal workers, mainly from the trade union Samwu, have been on strike in the capital since July over the wage and salary increase of 0% that the city council approved in June.
However, according to the union, its members did not participate in the strike and are entitled to their salaries.
The metro council asked the court to give it until Monday to pay the salaries. However, the court ordered that the payment be made by 2pm on Friday at the latest and argued that the metro board is “responsible for its own misfortune”.
Melita Baloyi, Imatu’s regional chairman in Tshwane, confirmed to RNews on Monday morning that some of the salaries were not paid within the specified time, but only by early Saturday morning. She also confirmed that not all members – listed by the court – were paid.
However, the city maintains that everyone whose names are on the court’s list has been compensated by the weekend. Selby Bokaba, spokesperson for the Tshwane Metro Council, confirmed that the salaries have been paid to 84 workers on the court’s list.
“A verification process is underway and if it is found that these workers have not rendered their services, deductions will be made from their future salaries,” says Bokaba.
“The city remains determined that the no work, no pay rule will be implemented without fear.”
Imatu is nevertheless considering further steps.
According to Lynette Burns-Coetzee, Imatu’s regional manager in Tshwane, the metro council “unlawfully withheld” the salaries of 125 Imatu members. She says the city expects Imatu members to first provide proof that they did work before they can receive their salaries.
“Our members reported for work at the time of the strike, even while being intimidated, threatened and assaulted. Moreover, the city failed to offer them safety and protection to do their work – even after it was requested several times,” says Burns-Coetzee.
“On the contrary, Cilliers Brink, mayor of Tshwane, branded employees as lazy, unwilling and overpaid, and accused them of now insisting on further ‘unnecessary’ salary increases. The mayor’s continuous comments in the media build a wall between residents and employees.”
According to Burns-Coetzee, the city is also asking for evidence of alleged harassment and intimidation incidents. “The city knows about the cases of intimidation and violence against working members at certain times and at certain targeted workplaces.”
Annual financial statements and performance not yet up to date
The metro council’s audit and performance committee has meanwhile recommended that the city later submit its annual financial statements and performance to the auditor general.
The fixed deadline for submitting the statements was initially Thursday, but was postponed. The city now has three more months to submit the statements.
The recommendation was made to give the city enough time to finalize other outstanding deals.
City Manager Johann Mettler welcomed the committee’s recommendation, as the deadline extension will give the city sufficient time to discuss some of the findings made by the Auditor General (AG) in the 2021/22 financial year. The AG made a negative finding about the city’s finances last year, which led to great concern.
“This time, the city management, together with the executive authority, followed a cautious approach to ensure that they do not make the same mistakes as last year. We are doing things differently this year. We are meticulous and pay attention to every little detail,” says Mettler.