Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Instability and Corruption

Mayor admits to bus service instability

Mar 08 2011 

Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa admitted on Tuesday that there was instability and possible corruption within the city's bus service division.

In his state of the city address, Ramokgopa said the city's department of roads and transport would prioritise stabilising labour relations in the Tshwane Bus Service, with the help of the corporate and shared services department.

This followed recent protests which resulted in the death of a worker and the axing of over 900 workers, most of them bus drivers.

The city was also liaising with unions to stop the protests, he said.

"We are reducing the instability that is often brought about by labour unrest," he said.

"It remains the responsibility of all concerned to strike a fine balance between the constitutional rights of workers and the constitutional entitlements of our communities to good quality social services."

It was expected that the conclusion of disciplinary processes against some bus drivers would result in a better-managed division.

Ramokgopa acknowledged that the bus service and the waste management divisions had been marred by problems in the past.

"Concerted efforts are under way to get to the root of this pattern of behaviour (unwarranted strikes), so we can rid the city of this cancer that threatens to undermine the good work in other areas of our service delivery agenda," he said.

Tshwane residents have, in the past week, faced bus service disruptions and waste removal problems as members of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) went on strike.

They were protesting against the disciplinary action taken against their members in the city's troubled bus services.

They demanded the sacking of Tshwane Bus Services director Bernard Mojapelo, which the city claimed had already been done.

On Thursday, the protest turned violent, leading to the death of Petros Msiza.

Two days later, the city dismissed 961 workers. Receipt of a letter in this regard was confirmed on Monday by Samwu deputy chairperson Veli Kubheka.

The union has vowed to fight tooth and nail for the reinstatement of dismissed workers, but Ramokgopa said there would be no compromise.

"Ill-discipline and poor corporate governance are non-negotiable. Management has prima-facie evidence," he said at a post-address media briefing.

His intention was to restore order and integrity to the institution.

Ramokgopa said strikers were using the fact that the country was readying itself for the upcoming local government elections in May as a bargaining chip.

"If it means losing elections for the people who undermine corporate governance, so be it."

He apologised to the residents being inconvenienced by the protests and the dismissals.

Samwu has since suspended its strike and some workers are back at work.

Another issue Ramokgopa raised was the creation of jobs though the development of industrial hubs in areas such as Rosslyn and Waltloo and the revitalised Babelegi industrial area.

Construction jobs and permanent industrial opportunities would be created through the attraction of investment to these areas, he said.

Ramokgopa said different departments, particularly the infrastructure development department, would explore ways of creating direct and indirect jobs through, among others, supporting cooperatives and expanded public works programmes.

He said a R53m project was under way to rejuvenate the city over the next two years.

The project would cover the precincts of Marabastad, Church Square and Pretoria Station, among others.

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