Wage demands led to racist chants

John Bruiners swinging a dead cat during Tuesday’s protest march. Photo: Lizette da Silva

GEORGE NEWS - The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has used the platform of wage demands to also air workers’ grievances.

On Monday Samwu members handed over a document of six pages containing grievances and requests at the Eden District Municipality offices to Executive Mayor of Eden Wessie van der Westhuizen.
The document states that "since Mr Godfrey Louw has returned as municipal manager, he has made his retribution and revenge against those who he regards as not being his ‘friends’ very clear".

The memorandum

The rest of the memorandum reads:

"This Council has moved from one blunder to another, the latest being:
1. Causing wasteful and fruitless expenditure retaining two senior white officials who were transferred to George Municipality at an estimated cost of R1 million.
The decision by Mr Louw shows his total disregard for legislation by keeping Mr Faan van der Merwe and Ms Erina de Villiers without job descriptions.
This is a clear sign of the DA’s attack on black professionals and preferential treatment for whites.
The cost to company salary package of Faan van der Merwe cost this Council + R 700 000 per annum and yet this council does not have money for salary increases for lower paid staff and Faan van der Merwe is roaming around the offices.

2. The contracts of more than 221 temporary staff members - all of whom were black young people were cancelled without following any legal and human resources processes.

3. He moved only white employees into his office and redeployed highly qualified black employees to other departments.

4. Under the lea-dership of the DA and Louw, Eden DM will now buy a Dodge SUV for the executive mayor at huge costs of close to R500 000 whilst not a single project was implemented in the last three months and there’s no money for salary increases for SAMWU staff.

5. Under the leadership of the DA and Louw a company was awarded an open-end contract to supply EDM with equipment for the Disaster Management Centre. Three years later over R8,3-million was spent and yet the equipment does not belong to Eden DM.

6. R60 000 relocation cost was paid out to an official, Ms Fathiema Hassain Watney to relocate to Oudtshoorn from George. Louw moved her back to the head office because she is one of his close friends and she did not pay back a single cent of the taxpayer’s money. And yet the executive mayor and Louw are silent on this matter.
It is known to Samwu that Ms Hassain Watney is a loyal DA supporter and ally.

Van der Westhuizen responded to the Samwu momorandum by saying he believes in the democratic process and has nothing to hide.

"New allegations were made this morning and I intend investigating."
At a press conference Van der Westhuizen said Samwu demands are unrea-listic and can not be attained in the current economic climate.

He added that he stands for a clean administration and that he would never go out of his way to ruin people’s lives.
Van der Westhuizen expressed his disappointment about racist chants by the protestors including "Kill the boer - kill the farmer".

"After 17 years of democracy such eruptions are offensive," he said.

ARTICLE: CHRISTO VERMAAK, GEORGE HERALD REPORTER


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