The uThukela Municipality, located in KwaZulu-Natal, employees were on strike as they were complaining that they do not have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
A meeting was supposed to be held last week Friday, July 17, between the unions and uThukela management to discuss general health and safety issues and workers’ grievances in this regard.
Aside from a lack of PPE, the workers say there was no social distancing in the work vehicles and that the vehicles were not fumigated.
However, management never pitched up and the meeting did not take place.
According to South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) chairperson Mzwakhe Dladla, acting municipal manager B.H Khoza told them on Tuesday, July 21, that he would not take part in addressing any of the workers’ issues.
This resulted in the workers downing tools and going on strike.
Dladla said Water and Sanitation general manager N.Z Khuzwayo told the unions and workers that he was not aware of any of the grievances.
Khuzwayo was in turn told to go back and consult with management.
Ladysmith residents raised their concerns regarding the strike, as service delivery issues were not being attended to.
“The situation is utter havoc. We need uThukela to be up and running so the town does not sit without water,” said one outraged resident.
Meanwhile, it was announced this week that two officials working for municipality tested positive for Covid-19.
“uThukela District would like to confirm that two municipal employees have tested positive for Covid-19. All health and safety protocols have been conducted, including the decontamination of the building,” the municipality said in a statement on Wednesday
The municipality said all contacts would be traced and referred for screening, while it confirmed that the Bergville Water Plant would be decontaminated.
This article first appeared on Ladysmith Gazette and was republished with permission.