City of Joburg: Lack of fire engines due to appointment of 130 ‘political workers’

City of Joburg: Lack of fire engines due to appointment of 130 ‘political workers’

The City of Johannesburg says the appointment of 130 workers at political offices and caucuses was done using money meant to buy fire engines.

New fire engines for CoJ
Neo Motloung

“This is a political fight. A lot of people were promised positions through their parties, and that’s how they obtained them in the city,” says MMC for Corporate Services Leah Knott.


A legal battle erupted after the city decided to set aside a decision of the previous administration to convert the fix-term contracts of the workers to permanent employment.


Some of the workers, represented by the municipal workers union Samwu, initially obtained an interdict from the Labour Court against the decision.


The ruling lapsed following the decision by the bargaining council to reject their application.


The contracts lapse at the end of April.

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While many have reapplied, dozens will be jobless.


“We need to follow the rule of law,” she adds.


Knott has accused Samwu of “fighting for the politically connected individuals”.


Changes have been made to reduce costs including reducing positions and adjusting the political party caucus structure.


“We reduced the number of positions in political offices because they have been bloated previously, and that was one of our concerns that the money allocated to fire engines in the previous term had been removed to accommodate more political office positions,” says Knott.


“That should help us keep the cost down and work more efficiently.”

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