IMATU WELCOMES INTEREST RATE CUT

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) welcomes the decision of the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Lesetja Kganyago, to reduce the current repo rate from 6.75% to 6.5%.

“While we welcome the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to reduce interest rates, this decision will not in and of itself stimulate growth or produce more jobs. Like all South Africans, our members are really feeling the financial pinch of increasing living costs and decreasing disposable income,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

High unemployment, low economic growth and overstretched consumers necessitate the need to provide financial relief where possible. “As we have indicated previously, IMATU remains concerned about our country’s poor domestic growth forecasts and escalating unemployment figures. Many of our members and South African consumers are cash-strapped, financially burdened and indebted. This decision to decrease interest rates today will not risk a breach of the inflation target range, to the contrary, lower interest rates will result in increased disposable income, promoting growth through enhanced household spending capacity,” concluded IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU CELEBRATES MANDELA DAY

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) will be joining fellow South Africans in celebrating Mandela Day today.

“Each year we are reminded of the 67 years of his life that the late Nelson Mandela gave fighting for the rights of humanity, equality, justice and democracy all South Africans enjoy today. We are pleased to be one of many organisations and individuals donating 67 minutes of our time or resources to make a difference in the lives of others. As a union representing local government employees throughout South Africa, we take pride in contributing towards positive change within our local communities,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

As part of their Mandela Day activities, the Moqhaka Branch are donating a washing machine and microwave oven to the Phekolong Hospice Centre at the Old Voortrekker Hospital in Kroonstad.

Shop Stewards and members of the Matlosana Branch in the North West will be donating toiletries to schools within their community.

As part of their Mandela Day efforts this year, the Johannesburg Region will be donating soccer balls and party packs to children from a school in the Jackson’s Drift area. IMATU is pleased to note that this day has turned into an annual sports and culture day for the scholars and community members.

The Tshwane Region will be donating paint, toiletries and food to the Tshwaranang Children’s Home in Pretoria, followed by lunch for the staff and children.

In the spirit of Mandela Day, the Cape Town Metro Region has made a considerable donation to the Fikelela Children’s Home in Khayelitsha and the Western Cape Region will be donating toiletries and cleaning products to an Old Age Home in Paarl as well as providing assistance to a member recently affected by an accident.

Shop Stewards and staff from the eThekwini Region have sponsored 320 school back-packs for the children of Jabulani Nursery and Pre-primary School. The Region will also be providing lunch for all the children and teachers this afternoon.

The IMATU National Office will be donating resources to needed upgrades at the Kaalfontein Primary School in Midrand. “The annual birthday of our former President Nelson Mandela has come to represent a day in which we remember what he in his individual capacity has done for our country and what we in turn can do for each other. IMATU is a proud supporter of Mandela Day,” concluded Koen.

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IMATU SECURES PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT IN ETHEKWINI

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The IMATU eThekwini Region has successfully negotiated the permanent employment of several contractual employees that were classified as contract workers since 2014.

“We initially lodged a dispute with the SALGBC in March 2018 when it came to our attention that the 12 month contracts of some contractual workers employed in DSW were being renewed each year in direct contravention of section 198B of the Labour Relations Act. Through determined engagement and negotiations with the employer, IMATU was able to secure permanent employment for the affected workers from 1 July 2019. In addition, the affected workers will also receive a once-off payment of R12 250, which is payable on 31 August 2019,” explained Cathi Botes, eThekwini Regional Manager.

IMATU has also since learnt that the eThekwini Municipality will no longer make use of private contractors for refuse removal in the Umlazi Area. In order to in-source this service, the municipality will start recruitment processes amongst existing contractual and EPWP workers. “IMATU supports and commends the eThekwini Municipality for taking this decision which will benefit new employees and ensure sustainable service delivery and future growth. We have requested that IMATU be included in consultations regarding the insourcing of this service and the absorption of any current contract workers,” explained Botes.

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IMATU COMMENTS ON THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT

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The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is extremely disappointed by the deteriorating results displayed by municipalities in the 2017-18 local government audit outcomes report, released earlier today.

In his report Auditor General, Kimi Makwetu, detailed that only 18 municipalities received clean audit opinions, tracking a decline from the 33 municipalities that received clean audits last year. While the audit outcomes of 22 municipalities did improve, 63 regressed, confirming the generalized trend of worsening performance management and financial accountability in the local government sector. The report furthermore highlighted a persistent culture of non-compliance with audit outcomes, inadequate infrastructure and maintenance planning, failure to investigate or recover unauthorized expenditure and the increasingly hostile environment facing audit teams.

“The Auditor General’s findings mirror the very same issues that our members face and that we are trying to address on the ground. Every year we are promised that internal controls will be strengthened, supply chain management will improve, corruption and nepotism will be tackled, vacancies will be filled and employees adequately trained. It is however very difficult for workers to achieve effective and efficient service delivery while these serious problems continue to go unaddressed. This year the Auditor General has gone a step further and singled out the lack of accountability as the major cause of poor local government audit results,” commented IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

“Despite a slight decrease from last year, it remains alarming that municipalities have collectively reported R 25.2 billion in irregular expenditure. The Auditor General’s Report indicated that this amount could be even higher, as ‘46% of the municipalities were either qualified on the incomplete disclosure of irregular expenditure or disclosed in their financial statements that they did not know the full extent of irregular expenditure’. Employers plead poverty when it comes time to negotiate fair wage increases, yet the Auditor General’s report confirms that few municipalities follow corrective audit outcomes and no one is held responsible for irregular expenditure. IMATU strongly believes that improvement can only take place when municipal management commits to taking ownership of municipal performance practices, insists on correctly qualified staff, roots out corruption and actively implements audit outcomes ,” commented Koen.

IMATU continues to support the Auditor General’s call for improved accountability in the management of municipal affairs. The union believes that there should be consequences for poor oversight, failed leadership and the blatant disregard for legal and financial procedures and regulations. IMATU is hopeful that the introduction of material irregularities and binding remedial action will assist in the promotion of financial accountability and good governance going forward.

The Auditor General correctly reflected in his address that, ‘leadership sets the tone at the top at any organisation. If leaders are unethical; have a disregard for governance, compliance and control; and are not committed to transparency and accountability, it will filter through to the lower levels of the organisation.’

“IMATU is committed to working towards achieving an efficient and sustainable local government service delivery model however, the commitment of our members must be matched by decisive leadership, accountability and political will at the top,” concluded Koen.

IMATU CELEBRATES YOUTH DAY

IMATU joins South Africans in commemorating Youth Day today. The 16 June 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape of South Africa.

This day serves to honour the courage of those who lost their lives in the struggle for equal education. We remember the sacrifices made as we come together to celebrate the young people of South Africa.

IMATU CONGRATULATES CAPE TOWN’S FIRST FEMALE FIRE AND RESCUE DISTRICT HEAD

IMATU was very proud to learn that Ms Arlene Wehr has been appointed the first female operations manager in Cape Town’s fire and rescue service. This role will involve the oversight and management of crucial fire stations such as Cape Town, Sea Point, Salt River, Epping, Brooklyn, Hout Bay, Constantia and Wynberg.

Ms Wehr, who also became the first female station officer and divisional commander in the service, continues to excel in her career and has become an inspirational example of female leadership in the workplace.

IMATU would like to congratulate Ms Wehr on her appointment. We are very proud of your achievements thus far and wish you all the success in your new role. We know that you will continue to serve the people of Cape Town to the best of your ability and inspire fellow female colleagues to pursue a career in the fire services

MFMA MUNICIPAL COST CONTAINMENT REGULATIONS

The Minister of Finance has issued municipal cost containment regulations (Gazette Notice No. 42514 – 7 June 2019). The regulations are issued in terms of section 168 (1) of the Local Government Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 (MFMA).

The regulations, which affect all municipalities and municipal entities and apply to officials and political office bearers, have been issued to ensure that the municipal resources are used effectively, efficiently and economically.

The regulations cover the following matters:

  • Use of consultants;
  • Vehicles used for political office – bearers;
  • Travel and subsistence;
  • Domestic accommodation;
  • Credit cards;
  • Sponsorships, events and catering;
  • Communication;
  • Conferences, meetings and study tours; and
  • Other related expenditure items.

Municipalities and municipal entities must develop cost containment policies to give effect to the regulations and these policies must be adopted by the municipal council (or board of directors in the case of municipal entities) and reviewed annually.

Failure to comply with the regulations may result in the relevant officials and / or political office bearers being held liable for financial misconduct or a financial offence in terms of chapter 15 of the MFMA.

Municipalities and municipal entities must disclose all cost containment measures taken in their budget reports and annual cost savings must be disclosed in their annual reports. These reports must be copied to national treasury within 7 days after submission to the municipal council (or board of directors in the case of municipal entities).

The regulations take effect on 1 July 2019.

The full Gazette can be viewed online:

https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201906/42514gen317.pdf

EID MUBARAK

Our Muslim members and colleagues will be celebrating Eid-Ul-Fitr this week. We wish to extend warm wishes to all our Muslim members and their loved ones.

IMATU IS OPTIMISTIC AFTER COGTA MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENTS

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) welcomes the appointment of Dr Dlamini-Zuma to the position of the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

“We were pleased to note the appointment of Dr Dlamini-Zuma to the position of Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night. Dr Dlamini-Zuma brings with her a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership that she has garnered in her various roles as a medical doctor, Minister of Health, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, Chair of the African Union Commission and most recently Minister in The Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. We are hopeful that these skills combined with a commitment to public service will be translated into effective and sustainable service delivery in the local government sector,” commented IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU believes that with effective leadership, correctly channelled resources, the up-skilling of workers and the rooting out of corruption, local government can offer a sustainable service delivery model that will assist in the efficient collaboration between the local, provincial and national tiers of Government.

“IMATU remains committed to working towards achieving an efficient and sustainable service delivery model at the local government level however, the commitment of our members on the ground must be matched by decisive implementation and political will at the top. We look forward to working together with the new Minister and her team to achieve the goals set out in the National Development Plan and more specifically assist in promoting service delivery across all municipalities and local government entities,” concluded Koen.

RAMADAN MUBARAK

The auspicious month of Ramadan start next week.

We wish to take this opportunity to wish our Muslim colleagues a spiritually uplifting month.