Wednesday, 13 April 2022 21:08

Judgment reserved in 130 employees' case against City of Joburg.

Staff Reporter.

The Labour Court has reserved its judgment in the case against the City of Joburg relating to the termination of the 130 employees' contracts.

The 130 employees were informed that their contracts were terminated last month. after allegations of the illegal conversions of their contracts from fixed to permanent employment.

In February, the city declared their appointments irregular and asked them to make representations why their employment should not be terminated.

Some of the employees claimed to have already been barred from entering city premises and had their work-sponsored electronic gadgets confiscated.

At the time, Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse said the council had taken a decision after the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the employees' lawyers missed the deadline to make any representations to challenge the move.

According to Phalatse, those appointments would come at a projected cost of at least R80m per annum.

"It would not only be costly for the city to turn a blind eye to the irregular employment of 130 (and growing) staff but it would be a violation of both the Municipal Systems Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act, laws both the council and its employees are bound by," she said at the time.

Phalatse said none of the staff who have been served with notices to regularise (return their contract to their original form) their employment are part of the city's administrative functions. Instead, they were appointed and contracted at a senior level to serve political offices linked to the term of office of the elected politician they were attached to.

She said it is incorrect to state that staff are being dismissed, fired or having their contracts terminated.

"Their contracts have been regularised and their contracts will run their course, coming to an end at the end of April 2022," she said.

As the matter was being heard in court, Samwu, who represent the employees, held a media briefing.

During the press conference, Samwu Tshwane chairperson Nkhetheni Muthavhi accused the DA of double standards.

Those [employees] were employed by the security firms who were working in the City of Tshwane.

"They are now permanent through the particular resolution, without the recruitment being followed — contrary to what is happening in Johannesburg, where the mayco resolved to appoint and is deemed to be illegal because it was done by the ANC," he said.

"In Tshwane we are saying the City of Tshwane went to their mayco, resolved to convert security guards into permanent [employees].

"You can say insourcing [or] you can say you convert them — either way, they are now permanent, but the process was [done by the] mayco," Muthavhi added. 

The Democratic Alliance is running both the economic hub of Johannesburg and Tshwane, which includes the capital, Pretoria.