The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is trying to cut down its growing water loss but it is hindered by the municipal unions to hire more plumbers to fix leaks. The municipal unions want vacancies for plumbers to be advertised locally and filled internally but the municipality wants to spread the network wider so that it can hire plumbers swiftly.
The city is facing a water crisis but the restrictions towards hiring of new plumbers are depleting the water in the dams. Last week, councilors who comprise the committee for electricity, infrastructure and energy portfolio voiced out their concerns that the metro is losing millions of rands due to leaks because of the stalemate between the municipality and the unions. Since they cannot come up with an agreement over the hiring of new plumbers, the delay is wasting 40% of the metro’s water.
Nelson Mandela Bay has 28 plumbers that service the whole metro but the actual requirement is 54 plumbers. According to Joseph Tsatsire, the water distribution manager, they have advertised internally so that those who have not seen the previous advertisements can apply. He also voiced out his concerns that some of the local plumbers may not be qualified for the position. A bigger issue being faced by the metro is the strong influence from the labor unions.
On the other hand, Mqondisi Nodongwe, Samwu regional chairman said that they are not happy with process of hiring plumbers in the metro. They have a policy wherein grades 3 and 11 positions must be filled internally. If the plumbers grade is 9 it falls between 3 and 11 and is excluded from hiring. If there is a need to determine competency, the plumber can take a competency test. Senior municipal officials are busy negotiating with the unions but meanwhile the municipality has to suffer from water crisis.
Plumbing emergencies usually occur when least expected but T.H.S. is just a call away. Round the clock service is offered to residents of Northampton and surrounding areas from the smallest job of fixing a leaking tap to the more complicated installation and maintenance of the central heating system.