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​2011-09-14: Striking EMS workers should present evidence to support their claims

The City of Johannesburg is rejecting any claims that the current industrial action by Emergency workers can be attributed to maladministration or corruption as suggested to the media by unidentified sources.

The City calls on workers with legitimate grievances or evidence of alleged corruption to present it to the City so that it can be investigated in compliance with existing labour relations processes. The door is also open to the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) to produce such evidence, if it is available.

Complaints against senior employees on the basis of untested allegations and innuendo are making it difficult for the City to act against those singled out for alleged wrongdoing.   

There have been instances in the past where serious allegations made through the media and at public platforms about senior officials, e.g. the Metro Police Chief Chris Ngcobo, were not sufficiently substantiated. An independent inquiry appointed by the City subsequently found that none of the allegations were proven or any case for misconduct proved.

The city cannot recklessly suspend or violate the rights of employees without any tangible evidence of misconduct and a due process being followed.

The city has established channels of communication and for the resolution of labour issues. EMS is an organisation that requires discipline and team work from all its members and as such, members of this business unit need to comply with these existing structures.

Bona fide complaints received through the appropriate channels will receive attention from the City. If they are of a serious nature, cannot be dealt with through existing channels the City will consider the appointment of an independent person to investigate such complaints.

It is also clear that the current strike does not enjoy universal support among all EMS employees. Many of those committed to continue doing their work have complained that they are facing severe intimidation from those participating in the strike. This leads to unnecessary delays when emergency calls are made for the business unit's services.

While thanking the encouraging sizable number of employees who remain at their work stations, the City wants to make it clear that it is illegal to intimidate non-striking workers or disrupt essential services such as fire emergency and ambulance services. Any report of wrong-doing by employees at work stations will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate disciplinary action taken.

Yesterday reports were received that employees at Alexandra, Modderfontein and Hodgson Street were being forced to abandon their work station and join the strike. In one of the ugly incidents on same day, the EMS official vehicle driven by its acting Chief Tshepo Makola, was attacked and damaged in Florida.   


Gabu Tugwana
Communication Director
Public Liaison Department
City of Johannesburg
Office of the Executive Mayor
Tel: 011 407-7162
Fax: 011 339-1531
Cell: 082 495 5673