NATIONAL NEWS - In November, Tshwane mayor Randall Williams said he had discovered “a truly alarming situation, where a number of core indicators showed a deeply troubling financial reality that the administration will need to urgently address to get the city back on track”.
Williams said between July 2019 and March 2020, the metro had a surplus of R284-million.
He said having scrutinised the pre-audited financial results for the 2019/20 financial year, he had learnt that this surplus had been completely eroded and that the metro was operating at a significant deficit of R4.4-billion.
“This is deeply troubling as the metro must be able to cover its financial liabilities and obligations.”
However, Tshwane mayoral spokesperson Jordan Griffiths said these benchmarking payments “would not compromise service delivery”.
“They will likely enhance it because they will work towards creating a stable labour environment and indicate that the political leadership is serious about taking the metro forward, together with its employees.”
He said the metro did not have plans to renegade on the agreements that had been duly reached with the metro workers.
Griffiths said the metro was running through implemented measures, such as extensive cost cutting, stringent financial management along with major interventions and investigations initiated to safeguard the metro’s financial position and stabilise it into the future.
“The strategic focus is on response times to water leaks and electricity outages, ensuring there is regular grass cutting taking place and urban management activities along with consistent by-law enforcement.”
Griffiths said the pressure was being placed on departments to deliver consistently.
He said this was the final benchmarking payment to the Tshwane workers in compliance with the agreements reached at the bargaining council.
“The metro was upgraded to a category 10 ranking and employees in the system were moved accordingly on the TASK management system, these payments will now reflect and conclude on this process.”
He said the metro was one of the few major metropolitans that was now considered a category 10.
This comes after Tshwane faced weeks of protest and lack of services, earlier in the year, which led to an agreement finally being reached between labour union South African municipal worker’s union and the metro.
Workers had downed tools, calling for an annual wage increase of 6.25% which was granted.
The protest saw many parts of the metro affected by electricity outages, piling waste and sewages leaks, as workers who turned up for duty reported intimidation.
Previously, the Tshwane metro said its finances were in dire straits and it could not afford to pay the workers the monies owed to them.
However, the parties agreed that 2017/18 payments would be made on 26 August, and before 26 December, the 2018/19 payment would be made.