Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The political situation in Thaba Chweu has deteriorated to such an extent that it requires a more drastic intervention than the technical task team deployed by cooperative governance MEC Simon Skhosana.
Yesterday municipal workers on an illegal strike refused to engage with members of the technical task team and reportedly chased them away from the municipal buildings. It seems that workers insist that no investigation be conducted and that their demands be met. The result of this illegal strike is that service delivery has come to a complete standstill, and reports of intimidation of non-striking workers and members of the public have started doing the rounds. Municipal accounts cannot be paid, technical services are not being provided, and residents have absolutely no recourse.
Evidence is mounting that this illegal and unprotected strike has less to do with promotions and increases and that political factionalism is at play. Furthermore, the local ANC has clearly lost the ability to provide leadership and political stability to the residents of Thaba Chweu and this municipality is in desperate need of direct intervention. To this end, the DA proposes the following:
• While the illegal strikers may prevent the task team from doing its job, and while the DA believes that the Thaba Chweu council must be dissolved, nothing prevents MEC Skhosana from exercising his mandate of intervening in terms of Section 139(1)(b) of the South African constitution.
• The illegal strike stems from a unilateral and unratified decision by municipal manager Burton Khoma to promote and increase individuals, and he must be held accountable.
• Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as ANC provincial chairman must immediately show leadership, go to Thaba Chweu, and sort out the local ANC leadership for their inability to provide political stability to the community.
• Provincial SAPS commissioner Thulani Ntobela must ensure that no striking worker intimidates non-striking workers who want to work, and must deploy sufficient police officials to protect members of the public who wish to conduct business with the municipality.
• MEC Skhosana must immediately implement contingency measures to return service delivery to residents fo Thaba Chweu. The crisis in Thaba Chweu has escalated beyond the abilities and terms of reference of a technical task team. Direct intervention is required to protect the rights of residents.