The City of Joburg (CoJ) officially signed off on a directive to reverse the permanent employment status of 130 African National Congress (ANC) staff members – and to fill the vacancies from 1 May.
The decision was made after the conversion of the fixed-term contracts to permanent were found to have been irregular and illegal.
Earlier this month, Joburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse accused the previous ANC administration of cadre deployment, saying there was “no space for unethical and corrupt practices”.
However, the ANC staff members affected by this directive said Phalatse’s actions are “shameless and groundless”, and due processes were not followed.
The CoJ jobs saga
New positions will be advertised
CoJ will begin the process of advertising and filling 120 fixed-term vacancies from 1 May 2022, as announced by the city’s Acting Municipal Manager Mesuli Mlandu in a media briefing on Friday.
Mlandu said CoJ had not been served with court papers, and the council wasn’t approached by any party or entity to review its decision.
“There is no one who made an application to the Speaker of the council to review. […] It was on that basis that I gave a directive to the human resources to go ahead with the notices”.
ANC’s R59 million a ‘short-sighted ploy’
Phalatse said in permanently employing “their own in these term-based offices”, the ANC made themselves guilty of “cadre deployment, a vile practice featured prominently as an instrument of State Capture”.
Phalatse referred to the policy as a “short-sighted ploy” on the previous ANC administration’s part, saying it would have had “long-term effects on the residents of Johannesburg”.
At a cost of R59 million per annum, it would have “robbed residents of service delivery”, the mayor argued.
Employee contracts terminated
Thus, a notice sent to employees said the conversion of fixed-term contracts was to correct “an irregular action […] which tainted lawful fixed-term contracts of staff in political offices.”
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and staff members’ lawyers were afforded an opportunity to make representations to revert the contracts to their original status.
However, Phalatse said despite being afforded the opportunity, no legal challenges had been received by the deadline.
“As of 1pm on Wednesday, no legal challenge has been brought against the administration, the council, or the executive of Johannesburg”, she said in a statement.
Mayor’s ‘shameless attempt’
Employees affected by CoJ jobs saga, however, say this was not the case; Samwu and their legal representatives responded timeously and requested an extension.
“We are dismayed by the mayor’s utterances that both the union and our lawyers refused to respond to the city timeously. On the contrary, Samwu made and filed formal representation to the city as promised,” they said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Mlandu said lawyers representing the employees requested a meeting for 1pm on Friday, “but they failed to turn up”.