UPDATE: SAMWU workers strike, but Ugu says services will not be affected

A union member addresses Ugu staff.


NO NEED for panic, everything is under control ahead of the Easter season, says Ugu.


The municipality has, in a statement, assured communities that the illegal strike action by its employees over the past two days will not affect water supply and services as alternative arrangements have been made.

Ugu is also threatening to take disciplinary action against all South African Workers Union (SAMWU) employees who are taking part in the strike action.

On Tuesday,  workers downed tools and marched to Ugu main offices, citing being sidelined on current labour issues including the court proceedings on the group life insurance policy contribution payouts.

However, Ugu says they are in constant liaison with the union as well as the local labour forum regarding any issues affecting their workers, including legal processes with Sanlam.

Contrary to this, the angry workers have accused management of playing ‘hide and seek’ with them and failing to pay back the rest of the money owed to them from their life policy payouts.

Meanwhile, Ugu says it will not take nonsense from these employees, as they  have political backing to deal harshly with them.

ANC regional spokesman, Selvan Chetty, has condemned the strike, saying communities cannot be held to ransom by workers.

“Any employee who sabotages water supply slows down our service delivery and therefore should be dealt with firmly,” he said.

Union leader, Phila Madwe, told workers to leave the community out of their battles with Ugu, saying, “We must continue making sure that our community doesn’t suffer water shortages even though we want our grievances to be sorted.”

Ugu released the following statement:

“Municipality’s stance on the workers’ protest

The Municipality notes with very serious concern the unacceptable actions of a group of staff members who sought to engage in an illegal and unprotected protest action yesterday.

The Municipality will not tolerate this kind of behaviour by these staff members particularly where the staff have ample avenues and processes to deal with any dissatisfaction in the workplace.

Management has this morning, engaged with the Union in an attempt to address the staff on the issue of the Sanlam Group Scheme, which the Municipality is currently engaged in court processes with.

As Ugu District Municipality we are always available to engage on matters of importance to staff but we must categorically state that we cannot accept behaviour that seeks to cause disruption and undermine the integrity of this municipality.

We will be strictly dealing with those who are engaging in these activities which may seriously impact on our ability to deliver our core services of water and sanitation provision.

As a caring Water Services Authority, we vow to ensure that residents and holiday makers alike are not in any way inconvenienced during the Easter Season in terms of water and sanitation services regardless of the outcomes of the talks between the employer and staff.”



UGU District Municipality workers are on strike yet again, just as the Easter season is starting.

The angry workers, belonging to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) are demanding answers from municipal manager, DD Naidoo.

They are accusing Mr Naidoo of not fulfilling his promise to ‘pay back’ the full sum of life insurance policy contributions owed to them.

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According to the union, Mr Naidoo has turned a blind eye to their pleas and requests to meet with union leaders and update them on how far the court proceedings are with Sanlam.

“The MM doesn’t want to give us any information pertaining the court case against Sanlam, we don’t know whether Sanlam has paid the money into Ugu’s account or not,” said a union spokesman.

Workers say the only way they can get management to pay attention to their grievances is if they down tools.

Ugu workers strike in front of Ugu’s main offices.

“We spend months discussing these issues but they are never addressed, instead management only ‘reacts’ instead of being pro-active and sorting them out.”

In December last year, during the festive season, Ugu workers downed tools demanding to be paid their group life insurance policy payout contributions after Ugu cut ties with Sanlam.

Although they were paid out some of the money, they are now demanding the rest.

More to follow.


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Zimasa Mgwili

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