The unprotected industrial action undertaken by the staff of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) through NEHAWU in the past two days continues to affect operations at all the MTPA’s offices as well as its nature reserves throughout the province.

This follows the dispute over the placement of employees into the new organogram, particularly employees acting in manager positions. They demand that these be placed in the acting positions instead of their normal positions. They also want the filling of the recently advertised Senior Management positions to be halted in favour of the placement.

The management of the MTPA stands firm that these Senior Management positons are critical and will afford all staff members even those in acting capacity a fair opportunity to apply and be absorbed permanently within the new organogram.

“We have tried through Labour Management Forum to engage the leadership of NEHAWU on their concerns, however they have continued to refuse to engage in order to find an amicable solution. The engagement would allow both parties to reach a consensus and further ensure that we urgently resume operations at all our offices and nature reserves.

“The negative impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was slowly beginning to be addressed and this has the unfortunate negative effect to the positive development we were beginning to notice.

The reopening of our nature reserves is our priority as it will afford tourists an opportunity to continue with their planned trips to explore our various tourism attractions”, explained Mr Johannes Nobunga, CEO of the MTPA. The MTPA is an equal opportunity employer and through the planned placement process we will be able to place all staff in their correct positions as per the new organogram. We want to allow the current process of the Senior Management positions to run smoothly and fairly and thereafter ensure that all staff is absorbed accordingly.

“We have written to the NEHAWU Provincial Office to request them to withdraw from this illegal strike and allow staff members to come to work. Failure to respond to this request, we will be forced to interdict the illegal action. We do not want to force this on our employees, however we will be left with no option if this matter is not resolved as a matter of urgency. We remain ready to engage further with NEHAWU in order to reach an agreement”, added Nobunga.

“We would also like to apologize to those that are inconvenienced by this strike. We are working tirelessly to ensure that our tourist attractions open soon in order for our visitors to have a memorable and safe experience. Our facilities will remain temporarily closed for the public until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our stakeholders on progress made. The other private tourism facilities in the province remain open for business. We would like to encourage visitors coming to Mpumalanga to enjoy their stay and explore more areas on offer in the province”, concluded Nobunga.

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