Walvis Bay municipal employees have threatened to down tools if management and councillors do not show up on Thursday to hear their demands.
About 150 employees of the Walvis Bay municipality demonstrated during lunch-time on Tuesday to raise their disappointment with management and staff. However, noone from management came to receive the petition, which the employees refused to read or hand to acting CEO Jan Kruger.
The disgruntled employees accuse the municipality of failing to provide proper housing for the majority of its workforce, many of whom still live in deplorable conditions, despite an agreement reached in 2013 stipulating that the municipality would avail residential land to its employees.
The workers say the municipality is enforcing restrictions on them in terms of their housing subsidy. “Our housing subsidy only applies when we buy houses in Walvis Bay, but many of us cannot afford houses here and prefer to buy elsewhere,” they explained.
In 2013 the two parties agreed that municipal erven should be offered to municipal workers to help them build their own houses.
“The issue is not even being discussed anymore and we don’t even know whether they will deliver it, as per the agreed terms. Another bone of contention is our backpay, which is long overdue now. The restructuring process was done already in 2012, but the backpay for some employees is still outstanding,” said one disgruntled worker.
Raphael Liswaniso, who also spoke on behalf of the employees, said it is indeed shocking that no member of council or management showed up to hear their demands.
“We are tired of the corruption and mismanagement at the municipality. Tenders and plots are allocated to relatives and friends while we, the employees, are suffering in shacks despite coming to work every day,” alleged Liswaniso.
Liswaniso said councillors are running way from the council employees, while it the very same employees stood in long queues to vote for them.
“If they don’t show up on Thursday we will simply down tools and all services at the municipality will come to a standstill until our demands are met. Sewerage will run from all corners of the town,” he pledged.
He said they would not engage in any illegal actions, but would follow the legal procedure.
Contacted for comment, Muronga Haingura, the chief executive officer of Walvis Bay Municipality, said he was away out of town as part of a delegation that accompanied the mayor of Walvis Bay and councillors to Windhoek.