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In light of the on-going protracted discourse about the above mentioned subject within the municipality and beyond it is important to set the record straight.
The Rustenburg municipality has been gripped by palpable tensions particularly in the aftermath of a general meeting of SAMWU members held on the 16th /10 /2017. During this highly charged meeting employees resolved to embark on an illegal strike in order to ensure that their salaries are adjusted to resemble the scales applicable in Metropolitan areas. What is the basis of this demand and what has precipitated it?
In April 2017 the Rustenburg Local Council considered a report titled “ Determination of Upper Limits of Salaries , Allowances and Benefits of Different Members of Municipal Councils”
This report was prompted by a Notice made by the Minister of COGTA, Honourable Minister Van Rooyen dated 03 April 2017 on implementation of Upper Limits of salaries , allowances and benefits of different members of Municipal Councils. In considering this notice it became apparent that the revised formula which is applied to determine the grading of municipalities for purposes of determining renumeration of Municipal Councillors places Rustenburg at Grade 6. This is the same grading applicable in all Metropolitan Municipalities. The Rustenburg Local Council having soberly considered the financial implications of adjusting the renumeration of Councillors to Grade 6 resolved to restrict it to Grade 5. The financial implications for the year 2016/17 would have amounted to a whopping R17 million for which no provision was made in the budget.
The first important matter to clarify at this juncture is whether the Determination my by Honourable Minister Van ROOYEN on the 3rd April 2017 implies that Rustenburg Municipality is now a category A municipality commonly refered to as a Metropolitan municipality.
For the record Rustenburg has been established as a category B municipality with a mayoral executive system and a ward participatory system
The financial implications of becoming a metro will be dealt with at a later stage. Any payment of salaries of employees at the level of a metropolitan municipality prior to the Demarcation Board declaring Rustenburg as such will not only be grossly illegal but immediately warrant criminal proceedings against all responsible. This will also trigger immediate intervention by both the Provincial and National Governments.
In conclusion it is important to state that the vision of the Political and Administrative leadership of Rustenburg is for the municipality to be declared a Metropolitan City. A road map in this regard will be presented to the next Council sitting. It will entail extensive consultations that will take place internally as well as with the Provincial and National Governments and critically with the Demarcation Board.
Clr Mpho Khunou
The Rustenburg Local Municipality has as part of its broader plan to ensure safety and cleanliness of the city, adopted a radical approach to put stop to illegal dumping by declaring war on it. In the past few weeks since the beginning of this war, the Municipality has recorded remarkable success in terms of achieving the intended objective of bringing culprits to book, thus nipping it in the bud.
To date, more than three hundred (300) vehicles, construction vehicles dumping building rubbles, and individuals have been impounded after being caught on the act of illegal dumping in various places around the city and its environs, wherein owners were penalised with fines not less than R 2 500-00, in terms of the provisions of the Municipal By-Law. The illegal dumping campaign has moved beyond the city, into various townships and villages.
“Rustenburg continues to be the economic hub of the North West province and the fastest growing city in South Africa. We have to maintain this moment as a city. Therefore, we cannot allow a situation where some residents with careless attitudes of dumping rubbish all over the place to regress us in achieving our mission of moving Rustenburg forward into a world class city where all communities enjoy high quality of life. We have intensified our efforts through our Law Enforcement Unit, to patrol all hot spots of illegal dumping around Rustenburg, and issue spot fines. This is the last resort after educating our people for many years about littering and illegal dumping with consequences thereof. We will continue with this hard core approach until the city is litter-free, with no more illegal dumping, thus making it conducive for investment”, said Executive Mayor, Cllr Mpho Khunou, on the aftermath of special operations aimed at illegal dumping.
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Hon. Des Van Rooyen,‘s current determination on the upper limits places Rustenburg on Grade 6. It seems it is this determination which is at the centre of the brewing conflict between the municipality and SAMWU. It has come to the attention of both the political leadership and management that these employees are planning to embark on a widespread illegal industrial action starting from tomorrow, 17th October 2017. This is in spite of all sorts of interventions and engagement of all affected parties on this matter.
In a meeting between the municipality’s TROIKA (Executive Mayor, Speaker of Council and Single Whip of Council), management and SAMWU local leadership, on 13th October 2017, details of the adverse financial implication of a demand to move employee related costs to Grade 6 were tabled. In view of the above, Council had resolved that the adverse financial implication of this move would place the municipality under strain and affect service delivery to residents, thus resolved that the municipality would remain at Grade 5. This decision is underpinned by acting in the interest of residents. It remains our view that this current impasse can only be resolved through sober dialogue of all parties involved.
Both these decisions have not been well received by disgruntled employees demanding a higher pay Grade.
The impact of a move from Grade 5 to Grade 6 can be summarised as follows:
Rendering the municipality unable to honor payments due to Creditors for goods and services to the municipality to the value of R120 million which would have an adverse impact the local economic climate that is already under strain.
Implications for residents
Implications for employees
It is against this background that both the municipality’s political leadership and management are in absolute disagreement with the implementation of the move to Grade 6 given the adverse impact it would have on the residents. Ultimately Administration is central in the sound financial management of public funds and such a decision would not be in line with that.
“We want to issue a strong warning to any employee who in the process of illegal strike damages or tempers with the municipality’s assets, such as water reservoirs, electricity sub-stations and buildings that the full might of the law shall apply. They will be arrested and be criminally charged, as this is tantamount to sabotage. We have made the necessary arrangements with our Public Safety Law Enforcement, South African Police (SAPS) and external legal experts, thus ensuring that there are no acts of intimidation and threats to employees who are willing to serve our residents. We will protect service delivery at all costs. Our own interpretation of the intended actions by SAMWU is to collapse provision of services. It is further our intention to interact with residents in the next few days, to fully explain the seriousness of the situation”, said Executive Mayor, Cllr Mpho Khunou, in a statement.