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[UPDATE] West Rand municipal councillors held hostage by workers freed

Workers stormed into a council meeting on Wednesday and held councillors captive, demanding they be paid.

Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa. Picture: @GautengProvince/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – West Rand municipal councillors held hostage by staff have now been freed.

Municipal district workers stormed the council meeting on Wednesday and held councillors captive, demanding their salaries be paid.

The bankrupt municipality which invested R77 million in VBS Mutal bank has failed to pay October wages and pension funds have been deferred over the past three months.

Workers say they have now been paid a portion of their salaries.

Municipal manager David Mokoena says money ring-fenced for a project has been used to pay the 140 salaries.

“It is a temporary solution but we’re working around the clock with our other stakeholders. We’re expecting to have both national departments of Cogta and Treasury to come to our municipality in order to do the assessment so that we can get a permanent solution to the matter.”

Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance Uhuru Moiloa says municipality has been going through financial constraints after it was not paid money following services it rendered for a local municipality.

The indebted municipality says it's waiting on National Treasury to release funds.

The MEC says his department was assured by the municipality earlier this year that it will sort out its finances.

“They said if we can work around bailing them out, they will be able to sustain themselves. So, we’ll work with that situation and stretch our budget to bail them out, but it’s clear that even that situation was never going to work.”

Moiloa says he will meet with Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize next week to deal with the matter.

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