Sun. Oct 20th, 2019

Samwu cries over dubious 122% salary boost for MK veterans in one year

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Members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have accused uMkhonto Wesizwe military(MK) veterans from the eThekwini Municipality of attacking them for asking too many questions about their dubious salary hikes.

As reported by IOL News, the union has put the municipality to task about how it was even possible that MK vets, many of which were employed a year ago, qualified for level 10 salary perks from level 4 earnings.

Why were MK veterans awarded such large increases?

To put it into context, Samwu is accusing the eThekwini Municipality of increasing the MK vets’ salaries from R9 000 to R20 000, costing the municipality at least R600 000 a month.

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Samwu members have claimed that when the issue was probed with the region’s water and sanitation department, where some of the MK vets are employed, they were viciously attacked, kicked to the ground and threatened for asking too many questions.

According to some members that met with eThekwini’s water and sanitation head, Ednick Msweli, there were discrepancies in the dubious promotion of 53 MK vets, who started out in 2018 as general assistants.

How MK vets were employed by eThekwini Municipality

This claim is in line with the 2018 reports from the Sunday Tribune about how the municipality had awarded 80 job openings to MK vets that had previously stormed the Durban City Hall, demanding employment.

It was alleged that, in response to claims from the protesters that they were servants of the ANC’s military wing, Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede, had allocated the vets to the following departments:

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  • 15 went to the department of water and sanitation, employed as general assistants;
  • 36 were sent to the department of roads and stormwater maintenance; and
  • 30 more went to the department of parks and recreation.

At the time, the mayor’s office had noted that this was in line with the Military Veterans Act, which allegedly gave the MK vets priority rights to employment over ordinary civilians.

“Some of these people were employed last year in April as general assistants. Some of us have been here for years, yet we remain at the same levels, meaning minimum wage, and they are given preferential treatment because of political influence. It’s not fair,” the members said.

MK vets and municipality defend salary boosts

City spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela condemned the alleged attacks on Samwu members and denied any allegations suggesting that the municipality was biased towards certain employees.

“With regards to remuneration and promotion of employees to upper grades, that is guided by its human resources policies. Under no circumstances shall the city be biased towards certain employees,” he said.

Themba Mavundla, the MK vets’ spokesperson, on the other hand, defended the dubious salary hikes, calling it a restitutive right for the ruling party’s military wing for services rendered in the fight against apartheid.

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