South African Union to Oppose DA Plan to Fire Workers in Capital

  • Tshwane Mayor plans to retrench extra workers, union says
  • Democratic Alliance won control of capital in August elections

South Africa’s biggest union for municipal workers will oppose plans by the Democratic Alliance to fire 900 employees in Tshwane, the city council that includes the capital, Pretoria, and that the main opposition party won control of in August local elections.

“As the largest trade union in local government we will oppose this move by the municipality,” Mpho Tladinyane, South African Municipal Workers Union regional secretary in Tshwane, said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “We are convinced that this plan is ill-conceived and ill-planned.”

While the DA took control of three of the country’s biggest cities from the ruling African National Congress after the Aug. 3 elections, it manages Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Pretoria through weak alliances and may struggle to negotiate changes with labor unions aligned with the ANC. The DA says the workforce in Pretoria is bloated by political appointments.

“What we cannot have is a 900-person mayor’s office that is just a big employment scheme for the ANC,” Matthew Gerstner, the acting spokesman for Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga, said by phone. “We are going to give SAMWU a guarantee that everything that we do will be to bring about fairness in who is employed.”

The ANC’s Tshwane spokesman, Teboho Joala, said by phone that he wasn’t able to comment because he’s out of the country. Paul Mojapelo, the ANC’s Tshwane regional secretary, didn’t immediately answer two calls to his mobile phone.

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