e z a s e g a g a s i n i

04 October - 17 October 2013 Your FREE Newspaper


News: Page 2


News: Page 6

City to tackle pay issue

ROMITA HANUMAN A TECHNICAL Task Team has been formed to investigate the implications of a recent court judgement regarding the Divisional Conditions of Service for affected eThekwini Municipality employees. The team includes representatives of eThekwini Municipality, IMATU and SAMWU. City Manager Sibusiso Sithole explained the background of the case and what actions are to be taken by the Municipality at a press briefing held earlier this week. He dismissed media reports that the case could result in the City being rendered bankrupt, saying the matter was sensitive as it had implications for both the City and its employees. Sithole said, ?The issue arose in 2007 where there was a need to regulate the conditions of employment. Forty six different local authorities had to be amalgamated and were all operating under different conditions. In 1994, when amalgamation took place, issues of gender and race along with other factors were considered and a decision was taken.? Employees from the 46 local authorities retained their salary structures and conditions of service until rationalisation had been finalised. This resulted in employees in the Municipality being paid on five different pay structures and 31 different conditions of service. ?We appreciate that with the benefit of hindsight the City could have treated this matter differently when the initial dispute was raised in 2007. Our task is to manage the process and find a solution,? said Sithole. He elaborated on the task team. ?The team will investigate each employee?s account separately, if they owe the Municipality or if we owe them. We then can take steps going forward. The team has a month to conclude their findings.? Engagements with the unions have already begun and figures cannot be ascertained at this time as the investigation findings are still pending. Sithole said that the matter is now a priority and it is not an easy process as factors including income tax, pension fund, overtime and other benefits will need to be considered. Speaker, Councillor Logie Naidoo, who was Chairperson of the then North Local Council said, ?The decision was taken to create uniform conditions of service because of the amalgamation. There was a RESOLUTIONS: City Manager Sibusiso Sithole with Deputy City Manager, Corporate and Human Resources Dumisile Nene at the press briefing earlier this week. Picture: KHAYA SENGANI (See report on page7) genuine attempt to reach an agreement to ensure that employees are catered for and service delivery continues. We will work with the Technical Task Team and come up with solutions.? The Municipality will also be negotiating with Labour for a new Conditions of Service Agreement.

National Transport Month begins

SLINDILE MALULEKA THIS week marks the start of National Transport Month and eThekwini Municipality has launched a Taxi Ranks Safety Awareness Campaign along with other programmes set out for the whole month. To kick-off this month, officials from eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) visited the YMCA long distance taxi rank on Soldiers Way in the CBD, to create awareness around safety and intolerance on the road. The campaign will be taken to other taxi and bus ranks, as well as railway stations within eThekwini. ETA has a number of exciting programmes lined up which seek to improve the Municipality?s transport system. These programmes will ensure that commuters receive a safe, easily accessible and affordable transport network that is environmentally friendly, integrating motorised and non-motorised transportation. The City has arranged a series of education campaigns to raise awareness on public roads to promote road safety during this month. Deputy Mayor, Cllr, Nomvuzo Shabalala said through these campaigns, the City was trying to stress the importance of adhering to the rules of the road. ?Today, we visited Soldiers Way long distance taxi rank to raise awareness and educate the public on road safety and will continue to visit other taxi ranks this whole month. As we are heading towards the festive season, we encourage motorists to buckle up, do not drink and drive, take regular breaks when driving long distances and to refrain from speeding,? she said. One of the City?s major transport projects include the R20 billion Integrated Rapid Transport Network (IRPTN) which is due to be launched this week. Bridge City has been identified as a key node in the much anticipated transport system that was established from the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT). Exciting projects have already been launched in the first phase of the IRPTN such as the new additional fleet of buses, construction of cycle lanes and the cashless travel card. It is also expected that one of the Bridge City station railway line be completed. This massive public transport network system, IRPTN, which is set to put eThekwini on the map, will integrate bus, rail and taxi transportation, providing affordable and reliable commuter transport by 2030. National Transport Month comes at a time when eThekwini Municipality has embarked on an infrastructure upgrade programme which is set to change the face of the City. This infrastructure upgrade involves road construction and rehabilitation, rail and port improvements. Specifically making reference to the recent Fields Hills fatal accidents, Shabalala said: ?Road fatalities such as Fields Hill accidents continue to be a major concern to us. The public can be assured that Metro Police will continue its enforcement operations to check the roadworthiness of trucks travelling on the route and on other roads in the eThekwini Municipality area.? Shabalala added that Government is steadfast on reducing road fatalities, which remain unacceptably high. ?Community Road Safety councils have been established to identify high accident areas and implement interventions such as traffic-calming measures like speed humps, traffic circles, visible road signage and traffic lights,? she said. Recently, 23 lives were lost and scores of people were injured during a fatal crash when a truck ploughed into four taxis and a car on the Richmond Road off-ramp. This week, Fields Hill claimed two more lives when a flatbed truck hit two taxis, leaving at least 20 people injured. Meanwhile these tragic accidents, occuring in less than a month, have led to Metro Police stepping up operations in the Fields Hill area. The Head of Metro Police, Commissioner Eugene Nzama has ordered that trucks found to be unroadworthy by Officers, be impounded pending the remedying of identified faults. This has resulted in 18 trucks being impounded for various defects and suspected irregular authorisation permits. Whereas this approach is likely to create inconvenience in the freight transport industry, Metro Police requests understanding and cooperation from all stakeholders.

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