The mayor of the local municipality of Msunduzi, Themba Njilo (file, The Witness)
Pietermaritzburg – Staff at the local municipality of Msunduzi shot down tools on Wednesday, disrupting traffic in Pietermaritzburg’s central business district after it emerged they had not been paid.
Staff are normally paid on the 24th of each month, but most were shocked when it emerged that there was no money in their accounts on Wednesday morning.
The slaughter of the tools began with the staff of the garbage division, who converged at the town hall and were soon joined by staff from other departments.
Traffic came to a halt as some roads were blocked, while businesses also took a hit as some were forced to close due to a power outage, believed to have been initiated by angry city staff.
Acting city manager Sizwe Hadebe told angry workers that the city had done everything to ensure that staff members were paid.
“We were made to understand that the FNB system has been hacked and that is why there are such problems,” said the senior executive, who was surrounded by police and members of the traffic department.
When approached for comment, FNB spokesperson Nick Montso, head of provincial and local governments at FNB Public Sector Banking, confirmed that the municipality was the bank’s client, but dismissed the hacking suggestions. systems.
“FNB can confirm that its systems have not been compromised and are functioning normally. We are liaising directly with the client on this matter,” said Montso.
“Very sad situation”
Workers became increasingly agitated when high-level politicians failed to show up to explain the source of the problems. Chief Council Whip Truman Magubane, who attempted to address staff members, was heckled before he even started speaking.
It later emerged that Mayor Themba Njilo and his deputy Thobani Zuma were in Nquthu trying to garner votes for the ruling party in the by-election.
“So you would rather go to another municipality rather than take care of business at home. It is a very sad state of affairs in our municipality, the management just seems distant from the problems that we have as workers”, a declared a worker.
Other workers spoke of the difficulty of getting money to return home.
“I’m now waiting for my parent to send me some money so I can go home because I was hoping to get some money in town, but then it happened. How we will come to work tomorrow is a guess. now, ”said another.
South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) spokesperson Sbu Molefe denounced the municipality’s response, saying it showed a lack of sensitivity to the plight of workers.
“This is a reflection of a leadership vacuum that we have witnessed over the past few months in the municipality. The least that could have been done would be to call a meeting and address the workers quickly, not what we are currently seeing, ”Molefe said.
Samwu has been at daggers drawn with the municipality in the past and at one point threatened to disrupt an ANC Executives Forum meeting that was addressed by party chairman Jacob Zuma.