Cosatu threatens to ‘shut down’ Johannesburg if Herman Mashaba privatises Pikitup

Cosatu has declared that it will challenge any attempts by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba to privatise Pikitup.

The City’s new mayor had revealed it was his intention to privatise the waste management company even before he was elected and recent announcements suggest he is looking to put the plan into action. Over the weekend he revealed that it is his plan to break Pikitup into seven different companies.

Cosatu, however, says it will not lie down and allow Mashaba to “outsource the municipality’s mandate to his friends in the private sector”.

“We are ready and willing to collapse and shutdown the city of Johannesburg If Mayor Mashaba thinks that he is going to do the bidding of his friends from the Free Market Foundation by introducing their anti-worker and anti-union policies,” the union federation said in a statement on Tuesday.

Despite Mashaba vowing that no jobs will be lost as a result of privatisation, Cosatu remains adamant that such a project would be hugely detrimental to Pikitup’s workers.

“Herman Mashaba’s plan will lead to significant job losses and will foster the casualisation of labour, with more and more workers being hired on limited fixed-term contracts of employment. It will remove workers from the bargaining units established over many years in the public sector, generally leading to a reduction in incomes, benefits and job security.”

Cosatu’s challenge follows a similar refusal by South African Municipal Workers’ Union. Spokesperson Papikie Mohale told Cape Talk on Tuesday that the union will not hesitate to strike if need be.

“We are definitely going to oppose it … This is just a dream for him [Mashaba], it will not materialise.

“Herman Mashaba will meet us on the streets if he plans to continue with this.”

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.


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