CentralSAKopanong workers' healthcare at stake
─── LUCKY NKUYANE 09:50 Tue, 09 Nov 2021
Some of the workers at the ailing Trompsburg-based Kopanong Local Municipality in the Free State are without medical benefits during a pandemic.
This is the result of the non-payment of salaries in nearly three months by the cash-strapped municipality. Workers are now receiving notifications from their medical schemes, informing them that their health coverage has been suspended due to non-payment.
On Monday, Kenalemang Mokete, who is among 450 workers affected by Kopanong's failure to pay salaries, told OFM News that some of the workers were now reeling from the threats of losing their houses and cars as a result of this.
Mokete told OFM News that the situation at the municipality is becoming detrimental and their livelihoods are now being threatened, whilst there is no mention of any assistance from the municipality. The financial crises at the municipality have been exacerbated by the attachment of the municipality's bank account by the Free State High Court over the failure to pay pension fund contributions since 2012, running into debt of R26 million.
In February 2021, Samwu's provincial secretary, Tiisetso Mahlatsi, told OFM News that workers who were employed from 2012 were not registered with the provident fund - but that money was being deducted with no contribution made by the municipality.
Up to date, no official at the Kopanong Local Municipality has been brought to book to account for the crises at the municipality.
Instead, the ANC's Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) spokesperson, Oupa Khoabane, told OFM News that the ANC cannot micromanage issues of municipalities.
Workers of Kopanong on Monday said they remain hell-bent on escalating their go-slow and not reporting for duty as long as their salaries remain unpaid by the municipality.
A group of workers employed by the municipality said that they can't go to work because of the non-payment situation.
The irate workers have accused the municipal management of lacking simple, basic professionalism by failing to inform the workers about the non-payment of salaries in the last two months. They say the municipal management has previously committed to pay their salaries last Friday but to date, none of the promises have been fulfilled. Workers say the non-payment for nearly three months is having a serious toll on their lives, as well as the lives of their family members.