Amathole strike ends, water to be restored
The Amathole District Municipality, the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (Imatu) today (Tuesday) conditionally ended a month long wage increase strike that has affected the water supply of the district.
The strike has led to a water crisis with the Amahlathi, Great Kei, Mbhashe, Mnquma, Ngqushwa and Raymond Mhlaba municipalities going without water for two months. This led to on-going violent protests in areas such as Butterworth, with locals barricading and stoning vehicles on the N2 since Monday.
The workers demanded a 6.5% wage increment, the removal of the Municipal Manager, Thandekile Mnyimba as well as Corporate Services Director, Mziwodumo Dliwayo. At this stage, it is unclear what the agreement was based on these demands.
Nonceba Madikizela, spokesperson for the District assured that water will flow freely following today’s resolution. “Since employees have been on strike, we have not been able to supply water to our municipalities. However, it must be noted that the District has an on-going water crises because of drought, old infrastructure and now we have an additional problem, the vandalism of the working infrastructure by the workers that were on strike,” she detailed.
The District was declared a drought area in July this year and was forced to resort to using boreholes and dispersed water using water trucks. They have approached National Treasury for funding to replace the old infrastructure and to pay off a historical debt of R136 million to the Amatola Water Board. “We have not had decent rainfall since April and our dams are running dry. With the workers back, we will continue to treat the limited water we have and ensure that locals have some relief,” promised Madikizela.
Lona Lubhedu, regional spokesperson for Samwu agreed that the strike has been called off.