By Ebi Kesiena
On Tuesday, over 300 workers marched from King Dinuzulu Park to the City Hall in Durban’s city center, demanding government/municipal jobs among other things.
Durban is the third most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg and Cape Town.
They marched under the banners of the Municipal and Allied Trade Union of South Africa (MATUSA) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU).
According to the memorandum filed by the workers stated that they want to become permanent employees of the municipality including security guards, water meter readers, and solid waste contractors.
Dora Mnguni, who is employed as a contractor, as an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) employee, said that she earns R3,500 a month which is not enough to cover expenses or get proper housing.
“I am a single mother of four children. I can’t afford to make them happy because the cost of everything is always increasing,” said Mnguni.
The marchers were told that their memorandum would be accepted by Thulani Mahlobo from the mayor’s office, but they demanded that the mayor come down himself.
SAFTU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi while addressing the marchers, stressed that workers at eThekwini municipality earn less than their counterparts in other metros like Cape Town, Nelson Mandela and Johannesburg.
Also speaking, President Thulani Ngwenya Matusa said the workers wanted the union recognised and they wanted to be paid on a higher salary scale.
Thembo Ntuli from the mayor’s office eventually accepted the memorandum after two hours. He promised that the municipality would respond within a week.
“I will definitely make sure that the Mayor makes time to meet with MATUSA’s leadership,” said Ntuli.