The Independent Municipal and Allied Workers Union (IMATU) met with members of the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality management team on Monday and succeeded in halting the intended mass retrenchment of municipal workers.

“The municipality was placed under Administration by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in 2017 and its financial problems have gotten progressively worse. The Administrator, who initiated this mass retrenchment process, resigned in December 2018. While a new Administrator has been appointed, he was not in attendance at the meeting,” explained KwaZulu Natal Regional Manager, Cathi Botes

The Municipality’s organogram makes provision for close to 1000 employees, while it currently only employs 598 people and intends to retrench 248 of these employees.

IMATU met with municipal representatives to oppose the retrenchments and encourage the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality to reduce expenditure by addressing the real problem of poor financial planning and management.

“As a result of IMATU’s intervention, the retrenchment process has been suspended. We are in the process of securing a meeting with the new Administrator to ensure that all parties are sufficiently briefed and understand the various options available to improve service delivery and retain jobs. Despite being a relatively newly amalgamated municipality, Inkosi Langalibalele carries much historical debt to service providers such as Eskom and the local water board. This month Cabinet will consider a detailed implementation plan to assist utilities reduce debt, increase collection and ultimately improve the potential income generation of municipalities,” stated Botes.

Municipalities are constitutionally mandated to provide services to communities in a sustainable manner. The municipal workforce is pivotal in ensuring the provision of these services and the salaries of workers must be provided for in any municipality’s budget.

“IMATU will vehemently oppose any threats to the conditions of service or job security of our members. Retrenchment of workers is a short-term solution to the systemic problems facing so many of our municipalities. A clear, sustainable solution must be found that addresses inefficiencies but most importantly tackles the real problems of poor planning, intermittent leadership and financial irregularities,” concluded Botes.