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Free State Samwu not phased by threats of workers’ dismissal

───   KEKELETSO MOSEBETSI 13:08 Wed, 03 Apr 2024

Free State Samwu not phased by threats of workers’ dismissal | News Article
Previous protests in the Free State by Samwu.

“To us, it was an action to intimidate workers and workers will not be intimidated.”

In the ongoing saga between the embattled Matjhabeng Local Municipality and South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), a recent development has seen Samwu members defiant in the face of threats of dismissal, as issued by municipal authorities.

A week ago, the troubled municipality's Mayor Thanduxolo Khalipha held a media briefing to outline the way forward, since service delivery has been halted for weeks due to the workers' strike. This was shortly after parts of the municipal building were allegedly torched by workers who weren’t happy that they would not be receiving their full salaries for February.

During a media briefing held at the Welkom-based Matjhabeng Local Municipality headquarters, Khalipha revealed that the municipality had informed workers on strike to report to work within 10 days or prepare for dismissals.

His announcement came after he explained that the intervention by the national government had failed and the municipality would now implement the court order. Free State Secretary-General of Samwu, Tiisetso Mahlatsi, boldly declared to OFM News that their members would not be intimidated, signalling a determined stance in the struggle for workers’ rights.

“To us, it was intended to intimidate workers and workers will not be intimidated. That was not the first attempt to intimidate us. Our strike is protected and we have already compromised on 19 issues. We gave them 5 issues [to consider] that will result in us suspending the strike and in the labour forum, we agreed on those 5 issues,” he said.

Mahlatsi further accused municipal officials of being liars, citing that they presented different issues during the council sittings than those agreed upon. 

OFM News previously reported on the strike which has been dragging on for weeks, leaving residents without any services. The backdrop of the workers' protests in Matjhabeng, has been grievances over the leadership of Khalipha and the misuse of municipal funds and resources, including salary issues.

OFM News/Kekeletso Mosebetsi  cg

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