15 June 2017

South Africa: Probe Into Umgeni Water Must Go Beyond Chief Executive - Unions

The "outbreak of alleged corruption" at KwaZulu-Natal bulk water supplier Umgeni Water was a great cause for concern, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and its affiliates said on Thursday.

The union, together with National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Satawu), said that the instability at Umgeni Water could impact on the service delivery of water.

Umgeni Water Chief Executive Cyril Gamede was suspended pending an investigation into corruption allegations earlier this week. He was served a letter of precautionary suspension.

This follows a revelation that an email, implicating Gamede in corruption, circulated last week to key stakeholders of Umgeni Water.

The net of corruption

Speaking in Durban, Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize said the investigations should not stop at just Gamede's alleged corruption.

"It cannot be that just one person is doing something alone in corruption. There are always more and we are saying that these people must be brought to task."

Mkhize said members of Cosatu and its affiliates made up more than half the work force at Umgeni Water - a company that employs more than 1 000 people.

According to Mkhize, unions felt that they were being left out of the process involving the corruption scandal.

He said there was no indication on the process that was taken to suspend Gamede.

"You cannot leave us out. We need to be briefed so our workers and the public can know what is going on. Rest assured, we will not let this issue go."

Dissolution of the board of directors

Mkhize further called on the board of directors at Umgeni Water to step down.

"We have identified a serious level of incapacity to the board and the fact that [they] seem to be occupied by people who have vested interests in business."

He added, "They lack the voice of labour as a key stakeholder in the transformation of the workplace for service delivery."

Mkhize further added that unions would ensure there wasn't a "capture of the water sector".

"There are many SA workers in that sector who are responsible for providing water to millions in the country. We will protect them and ensure our greatest resource is not plundered."

Source: News24

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