MKMVA members lock Richmond municipal workers out of their offices over jobs, houses

Angry members of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) locked Richmond municipality staff out of their offices on Wednesday.

The MKMVA members demanded to speak to the KwaZulu-Natal municipality's management, according to the police.

MKMVA chairperson in Richmond, Dumisani Ndlovu said among their demands was permanent employment for themselves as security guards in the municipality. He said they currently get three to six months employment contracts. 

He said they were also demanding to have a veterans' desk office in the municipality so that whenever they have grievances they know where to go.

Ndlovu also said they were promised pieces of land by the municipality so that the human settlements department could build them houses.

"We want those sites. The human settlements department wants to build us RDP houses, but the municipality has not provided any of our members with sites," he said.

Call for removal of 'corrupt' municipal manager

He added that they also want bursaries for their children, so they can get tertiary education.

Residents from the area later joined the MKMVA and demanded the removal of municipal manager Bongiwe Mnikathi, accusing her of maladministration and corruption.

The residents also accused Mnikathi of employing "outsiders" to work on an RDP housing project in the area.

Mnikathi took over the position after former municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole was gunned down in March last year.

Read: Richmond residents want speedy arrest after municipal manager's death

Municipal workers have also been on a go-slow since last week after Mnikathi returned to work following her suspension by the council in July after she was accused of maladministration and corruption.

"When workers arrived in the morning they found members of the MKMVA inside the premises. The gates to the offices were locked. They had their own demands," municipality spokesperson Sibonelo Bhengu said.

Also read: More than 500 public protests in KZN in a year

No injuries, no arrests

He said one of the residents' demands was that Mnikathi be fired. 

Bhengu said the council had recently resolved to suspend Mnikathi, but she challenged the suspension in court and returned to work, pending the outcome of the court case.

He said the ANC-run municipality would sit down with the provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs department in order to resolve some of the issues that were raised by the protesters.The date of that meeting has not been confirmed, said Bhengu.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed allegations that a group of about 70 people locked the gate and instructed the workers to remain outside.

She said no case was opened and no injuries were reported. 

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