DA reports political purge to public protector

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader

The DA is rising in protest against the manner in which municipal employees have been dismissed by the ANC. There has been a mass dismissal of 52 employees of the Nama-Khoi municipality. The reason for this group dismissal is the fact that the employees are suspected of having political ties with opposition parties. It is, in fact, a political purge by the governing party which constitutes discrimination in its ugliest, most reprehensible form.

The DA believes that this shocking abuse of power should be investigated by the Public Protector. I have therefore gone to the offices of the Public Protector this morning to deliver a formal request for an investigation into the matter. We trust that the Public Protector will investigate this unfair dismissal and will recommend an appropriate course of action.

The ANC is attempting to defend the indefensible by arguing that the employees’ appointments were invalid, as the appointment of the municipal manager who represented the municipality was deemed null and void. The DA is not interested in discussing the former municipal manager and whether or not his appointment was irregular. We are not talking about the person here, but about the process that was followed and the impact that the ANC’s mass dismissal is having on the employees.

The municipality approved an organogram on the 15th of November 2011 which made provision for the employees. On the 28th of June 2012, a council resolution was passed which adopted 21 policies. Among these policies were the Equal Employment Policy and the Migration- and Placement Policy. The council deemed it fit to appoint the temporary employees in a permanent capacity, as they have been in their posts for more than three months. It was not a decision by the municipal manager, but a resolution of the council which was, in fact, suggested by an ANC councillor, Simon Kleinbooi.

The ANC has not challenged any of the other decisions taken by the former municipal manager. Their flimsy excuses cannot disguise the fact that they are firing people because of their political beliefs.

They are clearly showing that they believe in a better life for some, not in a better life for all. Is this the good story to tell when breadwinners are being fired left, right and centre? Where is Ubuntu and batho pele in the decision to rob 52 families of their daily bread?

The Nama-Khoi municipality has an unemployment rate of 22%. As of July 2014, the Northern Cape has an expanded unemployment rate of 42%. With the high levels of unemployment come poverty and desperation. It is despicable that the ANC is using political games to punish people and to drive them into poverty and despair.

Every person in South Africa has the right to his or her own political views; you don’t need an ANC membership card just to hold a government job. Section 197(3) of the Constitution makes it very clear that no employee in the public service may be discriminated against because of his or her political views. Yet this is exactly what the ANC is doing.

We cannot let this matter slide, because it is a bread-and-butter issue which is affecting society as a whole.