The DA has downplayed reports that it would be ridding the municipalities it governs of workers and officials who it feels are incompetent or not qualified.
This followed the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) writing a letter to the party, urging it to tread carefully in its planned skills audits and to avoid “purging” employees based on political affiliations.
“It is evident from media reports that there are conflicting views expressed by different spokespersons of the DA. Some candidates call for conducting skills audits,” reads the union’s statement about the letter.
“Others indicate outsourcing of core functions will become official policy. Fedusa believes panic and uncertainty will take root in the local government structures, with fear of purging, [and this] could consequently undermine stability and have the converse effect of the economic gains of the last two weeks.”
But the DA insists that it has the interests of the communities at heart, who are set to be served by the DA. James Selfe, the DA’s federal executive chairperson, told The Citizen municipal workers had nothing to worry about.
“I don’t know where this rumour comes from about people losing their jobs. It’s entirely untrue,” he said.
“We will have to look at the organograms of the various municipalities where we will govern, but there is no intention whatsoever of purging any competent official who is doing his or her job to the best of their abilities.” Selfe said that any dismissals carried out would be done according to ordinary labour laws and procedures.
“We would have to prove that those particular individuals, according to the law, are not competent or fit for that position.
“We have a responsibility to deliver quality services to the people in the municipalities we take over. We have to ensure that the people in those positions are professional, apolitical and competent.”
Simon Mathe, general secretary of Municipal workers’ union Samwu, said the union would not tolerate any purgings.