The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has confirmed that it is insolvent and has been struggling to pay staff salaries since August last year.
Newly elected Samwu secretary general Koena Ramatlou told TimesLIVE on Wednesday that a new leadership elected at the union’s central executive committee meeting held in Bloemfontein last week has been mandated to deal with issues affecting the union.
These include sorting out the union’s financial woes, ensuring that provincial allocations are paid on time to enable provinces to service their members, and also ensure that staff benefits are updated and paid on time and in full.
“The new leadership has been mandated to find out what caused the union to not be able to pay staff salaries and to look into how we can turn the situation around,” said Ramatlou.
He said the union would meet with the department of labour’s registrar this week in an effort to stop an application to place the union under administration.
“We want to engage the registrar and deal with the issue outside court.”
The meeting, according to the union, would also assure the department that it was functioning properly and that all constitutional and legal provisions were adhered to.
Ramatlou said the union had been battling to pay staff their salaries since August last year.
“Salaries are paid late. The union has to wait for member subscriptions to pay salaries,” Ramatlou said, adding that the new leadership would be meeting its internal finance team to find out the reason for their financial struggles.
“We want to see how we can avert the situation,” he said.
In February, TimesLIVE reported that Johannesburg had cut power to Sawmu’s headquarters for nonpayment of outstanding bills.
The power was disconnected after Samwu was issued with a pre-termination notice in December 2018, which was ignored.
At the time the union owed about R1.2m for electricity, water, sewerage, rates and refuse removal, the city said.