The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the KwaZulu Natal Province says it learnt with great anger of “evil and apartheid-like” agreement between the City of Msunduzi and the Department of Correctional Services. Under the agreement, convicted criminals will be given to the City to deliver services.
SAMWU KZN Secretary Nokubonga Dinga said according to the agreement, the convicted criminals will be responsible for street cleaning, grass cutting in parks and cemeteries and the painting of municipal-owned buildings, including servicing of the municipality’s fleet.
“As SAMWU, we are infuriated because the above-mentioned services are the core function of municipalities. It is people who are permanently and directly employed by municipalities who are supposed to be rendering these services.”
Dinga said as SAMWU, they are concerned that this agreement is nothing but an attempt by the City to procure free and cheap labour wherever it can. “In fact, we are of the view that this agreement is not in the interest of promoting or improving service delivery but rather to condemn the inmates to slavery. This agreement should be considered as such; slavery of a special kind. The City has already indicated that they will be getting these inmates to do the work for free, with no payment whatsoever.”
Dinga further said should the City continue with this agreement, they will be left with no option but to mobilize residents of the City to go and demand permanent employment from the City.