MOUTSE – A standoff between residents of Moutse and Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM) rages on over the dismissal of drivers of water tankers that deliver water to the area.
According to insiders the standoff came as a result of eight drivers of the water tankers that delivered water to the drought stricken area having recently been sacked.
The residents in the affected areas say they want the decision to axe the drivers of the tankers reversed and be given their jobs back.
According to the residents the district municipality replaced the eight drivers from Moutse against the ministry’s call that they should be given preference over people from other regions.
“We can’t have our people humiliated like this. Does this mean that people from Moutse are only good enough for EPWP and short contracts jobs,” said Seun Mogotji, a community leader.
Mogotji said as the community of Moutse they urged the district municipality to reverse the decision to fire the drivers and reinstate the eight before they staged a sit-in at the Municipal Manager’s office.
On 16 November 2021, SDM issued a public notice that it was locked in a dispute with some residents of Moutse, which unfortunately affected the provision of water services to the area.
SDM said due to concerns over the safety of its workers, the municipality was not able to supply water to Moutse through water tankers.
It informed that the dispute was about a group of residents who insisted the municipality must hire only a select group of residents from Moutse as the drivers of tankers.
The district municipality said it was attending to the matter with urgency to ensure the provision of water in Moutse is restored.
Moloko Moloto, SDM Spokesperson, said the district municipality has not fired anyone. The ten drivers referred to, were casual workers who were first brought in by a service provider or a third party who had been contracted to Lepelle Northern Water, the district municipality’s water service provider.
Motloo informed that they drove the trucks, as casual workers of the third party/service provider which had procured the trucks on behalf of Lepelle Northern Water. When the ownership of the ten trucks, and the ten new others was transferred from Lepelle Northern Water to Sekhukhune District Municipality, the district municipality then had to advertise 20 truck driver positions.
He added that the ten truck drivers applied like everyone else, to become permanent employees of the district municipality.
“The problem here is that, of the ten casual drivers, six failed the test drive which was done independently by examiners from Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality, and two others, while they passed the test drive, however, subsequently failed the interviews conducted by the district municipality.
This means we could only permanently hire two people from the group of ten casual drivers. This is what is causing the dispute because the group of residents of Moutse that is unhappy, wants us to employ the other eight, despite the fact that they did not pass the test drive and the interview,” explained Moloto.
He concluded that however, they wanted to point out that of the twenty new truck drivers they hired, five of them, including the two casual drivers, are from Moutse.