Mafube municipality staff going into third month without pay

The Mafube local municipality in Fezile Dhabi district in Free State has again postponed a payment date for missed two months’ worth of salaries.

Acting municipal manager Mothusi Lepheana called a meeting on Thursday to notify staff that a plan to effect payments on July 14 had failed.

Independent Municipal Allied Trade Union branch chairperson at Mafube municipality, Tshepo Tsotetsi, said the union was notified that the Municipal Workers Retirement Fund has been taking its dues from the municipal account since July 12.

“This explains that even if the equitable share was to make its way into the municipal account, the Municipal Workers Retirement Fund will still take what they want, which would be R33.8-million, because they only found R3.2-million this time,” said Tsotetsi.

“What would save the Mafube municipality right now, according to the municipal manager, is an application for court to have the financial recovery plan implemented and this would be around July 27.

“Also, we can only get paid if the bank would agree to an overdraft, this means we would even get paid earlier than July 23.”

Tsotetsi said he is concerned that the retirement fund decided to freeze municipal accounts claiming that it is acting in favour of employees.

He added that the municipality is preparing food vouchers worth R3 300 per employee, so they would at least manage to put food on the table while waiting for salaries.

“These vouchers should not be a debt to us. We experienced a similar challenge around this time last year, and the then municipal manager gave us vouchers worth R2 500 which he deducted from our salaries in August last year,” he said.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) boycotted a meeting on Thursday.

Samwu chairperson Johnson Mbele said the union is not willing to attend any meeting with the municipality that will delay a response to its memorandum.

He said union members are only eagerly awaiting for bank notifications on their cellphones that their monies have been paid.

Samwu threatened that a total shutdown would be implemented should the municipality fail to respond to its memorandum.

The memorandum demands a speedy payment considering that employees are facing a third month without pay.

“We are still awaiting for a response on our memorandum and the outcome of a meeting between the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs and Samwu.”

Mbele added that union members are on the verge of losing their valuable assets including their homes and vehicles.

They also fear children will be thrown out of schools because of failure to pay fees.

Lepheana had written to creditors including vehicle finance companies, insurance companies, and housing companies.

Reads the letter: “This letter serves to inform you about the non-payment of salaries of Mafube municipality employees for the months of May and June.

“Once again, the management of Mafube municipality remains committed in ensuring that employees’ salaries are paid, latest by 14 July 2023.

“We humbly appeal for your patience with our employees and we apologise for any inconvenience that the abovementioned situation might have caused.”


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