Municipal services to Samwu head office cut

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JOHANNESBURG, February 15 – Municipal union Samwu on Friday disputed claims by the City of Joburg that it owes more than R1 million in outstanding bills, saying that the City had illegally cut services to the union’s head office.

The City cut electricity to the building on Thursday, saying in a statement that the union owed it R1.2 million in arrears for electricity, water, sewerage, rates and refuse.

But in a statement complete with copies of what it says is a proof of payment document, Samwu denied this and said that the City — which is under the Democratic Alliance administration — was intent on destabilizing the union, which is affiliated to Cosatu.

“According to an invoice dated 04 February 2019, the union owes the City R38,411.03. The union last made payment to the on the 28th January for an amount of R13,224.89,” the statement from the union said.

“The City has therefore, out of their hatred and desire to see the collapse of Samwu gone out of their way to cook figures, instructed City Power to illegally disconnect electricity supply to the union Head Offices.”

The union claimed the action by the city was “retalation” for the union successfully bringing an application to attach the City’s bank account.

“The City does not want its residents knowing that they no longer have access to their banking account as it has been attached by the sheriff of the court as a result of the City’s failure to pay a Samwu employee R1,619,740.32,” the union said.

Earlier, the City insisted the union had ignored a pre-termination notice issued to it in December.

“By not paying for municipal services, it [Samwu] ultimately disadvantages the same workers it aims to represent. This also reduces the City’s ability to draw revenue which can be used to deliver quality services to households across the City,” the City said in a statement.

The City statement said the metro “could not afford to lose a single cent” due to several challenges, including a R170 billion infrastructure backlog, a housing backlock and massive unemployment. (ANA)