BOTH Enoch Mgijima and the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have agreed that the two-month long strike must come to an end while they continue to discuss ways to restore order and retain stability in the area.
The labour action started after Samwu members expressed dissatisfaction about an alleged unfulfilled agreement on the guideline for salary structures within the Lukhanji Municipality.
The Rep reported (“Komani in chaos”, July 15) that Samwu regional secretary Mongameli Mancam said the strike was related to a bench-marking exercise from a document released by the South African Local Government Association in 2013 which indicated that all municipalities should be graded, with the main objective to close the gap in salaries.
Enoch Mgijima executive mayor Lindiwe Gunuza Nkwentsha, speaking to The Rep from her town hall office, said she was not currently able to divulge information on the discussions between the municipal leadership and the labour force.
Gunuza Nkwentsha said the mayoral executive committee had met Samwu leadership for the first time on August 29.
She said the newly established entity had inherited problems from the previously merged Lukhanji, Inkwanca and Tsolwana municipalities.
“There are bad and good things we have inherited from the three local municipalities, but we have committed with the leadership of Samwu and the municipality to resolve our issues. We won’t disclose the level of engagements with Samwu but we must apologise to the people of Enoch Mgijima for the inconvenience cause by the strike.”
Samwu secretary in the former Lukhanji Municipality, Thabo Ngwane, confirmed meeting the municipal leadership on August 29.
“We met with the ANC-led municipal leadership and we are in discussions. We are happy with the level of discussions and that is why we are back at work.”
Ngwane also apologised to the Enoch Mgijima community.
“The community must be aware that we are also community members and we were also affected by the strike. However, we would like to unreservedly apologise for the inconvenience.”
The intervention of the Lukhanji branch of the SA Council of Churches (SACC) had been appreciated by both Samwu and Enoch Mgijima leadership, with SACC spokesman Reverend Tembile Pimpi saying they had a meeting with stakeholders on Monday and were happy with the outcome.
When The Rep visited the town hall on Monday, SACC members were leaving at about 2pm.
“The strike affected many people and services have come to a standstill. It is good that we had another meeting with the municipality and we indicated it will not be the last time. We would like to be involved and help the municipality as in the past.”
Pimpi said they had agreed to have quarterly meetings with the municipality.
“They told us about the problems and what led to the strike. We have now committed to work with each other and we are confident that things will now be back to normal because this has affected a lot of people.”