MMC Kunene condemns ‘illegal’ Metrobus strike

The City of Johannesburg transport MMC, Kenny Kunene, says metrobus drivers who are on strike disrespect commuters in the city. He added that “decisive action must be taken” against them.

Anger, disappointment

Kunene expressed his anger and disappointment in the Metrobus employees who have embarked on an “illegal strike” since Wednesday afternoon.

The Metrobus employees strike started during the Wednesday afternoon shift. It led to the bus operations being suspended indefinitely.

MMC Kunene was in council when he was informed of the strike taking place at Metrobus. The MMC views this action by Metrobus employees as a clear indication of their disrespect towards the citizens of the city.

“The drivers are fully aware that their commuters include schoolchildren and workers who depend on them for daily transport.

The city’s schoolkids worst affected

“Their disregard resulted in schoolchildren being left [stranded]. And this is in an era of rampant human trafficking. Parents [are also] struggling to make alternative transport arrangements for their children,” said Kunene.

“One of the unreasonable demands made by these striking employees was for Metrobus to reinstate some of the former employees.  They were dismissed after being accused of stealing from the entity. This is without a labour court or bargaining council ruling.

“I have been given [the mandate] by the residents of Soweto, Eldorado Park, Ennerdale, Finetown, and other areas around the city. This was given to me through their votes. The mandate is to perform and implement service delivery. To also do oversight on the officials who are responsible for executing this. Should these officials fail, I am obligated to act. And will do so without fear or favour.

Disrespectful of city’s residents and workers

“It is the MMC’s personal view that when workers disrespect the people who pay their salaries, decisive action must be taken. [The people who pay their salaries] are, in this case, commuters and residents of the City of Johannesburg.

“The residents of the city cannot be held at ransom. When I became the MMC for transport, many people spoke to me about shutting down Metrobus. But I expressed my commitment to assisting Metrobus to thrive. [Because shutting it down] would have resulted in many job losses. In addition, Metrobus plays a critical role in ensuring all commuters arrive at their destinations safely and on time. This includes schoolchildren.”

Kunene says he is disappointed, frustrated, and angry at what has been done to the citizens of the city, especially schoolchildren.

Labour processes 

He said he believes the labour process should take its course.

“One would assume that these drivers have children and would understand the frustration of a stranded child. The frustration of the parents who don’t know their children’s whereabouts.

“We are in the business of service delivery. If drivers cannot assist the city to achieve that mandate, then they have no reason to be part of this organisation.”

Kunene said he will be speaking to City of Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda and city manager Floyd Brink about the Metrobus employees strike.

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