Samwu strike may leave Joburg in the dark
Despite City Power’s announcement that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has not issued a certificate allowing strike action, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) intends to go ahead with the strike at City Power offices on 19 October.
Samwu deputy regional secretary, Paul Tlhabang, said City Power’s announcement won’t change anything or prevent the strike from happening.
“Our intended strike action is going ahead on the 19th of this month [October]. The union has issued the City of Johannesburg’s power utility [City Power] with our intention to go on a full-blown strike,” Tlhabang said.
“City Power has failed to address issues relating to corruption levelled against its managing director, Sicelo Xulu. It is surprising that the board chairperson, Reverend Frank Chikane, who has ordained himself as a moral authority, has failed to act on corruption allegations which are happening under his watch.”
However, Yumna Sheik, spokesperson for City Power, said they were concerned by the union’s utterances that the strike will result in a total blackout of Johannesburg.
Sheik said, “This constitutes a threat of sabotage against the company and the residents of Johannesburg. City Power has been declared a national key point and any individual threatening to switch off the network illegally will be liable for prosecution. The rendering of electricity supply services by City Power is also classified as an essential service and the disruption of the electricity supply by a strike is unlawful at the outset.”
According to Sheik, it was to be noted that Samwu had indicated that the intended strike is a protected strike, yet the CCMA has not issued a certificate allowing this strike action. Sheik claimed City Power was aware that some individuals in Samwu have misled union members employed by City Power by claiming that a strike certificate had been issued. City Power was also concerned about the ‘unjustified attack’ on the credibility of Chikane.
Sheik said, “The chairperson has offered Samwu several opportunities since 31 March to present their evidence to support their allegations against the management of City Power and has, despite the attacks on him, presented Samwu with yet another opportunity to do so. Any allegation that City Power is unwilling to address any specific allegations of improper conduct is patently false.”
She added that City Power perceived this threat by Samwu as criminal and has taken steps to protect the network and will pursue criminal complaints in due course.
This is an ongoing story.