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Newcastle mayor defends decision to fire over 200 workers

Pandemonium erupted at the Newcastle municipal chambers in September when workers claimed they had been unfairly denied overtime pay.

Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba. Picture: Newcastle Municipality/Facebook.

DURBAN - Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba has defended his municipality’s decision to fire over 200 workers.

They were axed last week after protesting over the non-payment of overtime in September.

Mahlaba said they acted within the law because some of the workers had attempted to defraud the municipality.

Pandemonium erupted at the Newcastle municipal chambers in September when workers claimed they had been unfairly denied overtime pay.

Protesting workers blockaded all entrances and exits during a council meeting.

Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba was struck in the face with a brick.

All workers believed to have participated in the protest were dismissed last week, but the South African Municipal Workers Union said it would take legal action against the municipality.

Mayor Mahlaba said he was unfazed.

“They were demonstrating arrogance. You can’t be wrong and then hold your employer hostage for something that’s not legal. This cannot be acceptable.”

Mahlaba insists that the workers illegally staged the protest while others attempted to fraudulently claim overtime payments from the municipality.