Letter to the editor from Cllr. George Henderson on how two Sanlam policies led to waterless and crippled Ugu

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Dear Editor,

For the information of your readers, the following information:


Here are the facts regarding the Ugu Sanlam Death Benefit Scheme and how it unfolded, ultimately resulting in the two illegal strikes which caused collateral damage to our local economy and our long suffering residents.


In 1997 UGU workers ask for a non-statutory Sanlam Death and Disability Benefit Policy.
• Payment of contributions: 1% from employees, and 1% from UGU
• The scheme paid out on death, disability and had a funeral cover.


• For a number of years Ilembe Municipality (just north of eThekwini – Durban) had a mandatory Sanlam Group Life Scheme policy for their workers.
• The scheme paid out on retirement or death.
• In 2012 the workers said they were unhappy with the Retirement pay-outs and that they wanted to terminate the policy.
• In October 2012 the workers stopped paying contributions and the parties began negotiations.
• After three years of negotiations a settlement was finally reached and the Ilembe workers were paid out on the 30th Sept 2015.


It seems that a rumour went out suggesting that the UGU workers should demand a similar pay-out. Thus implying, without elaborating, that the policies were the same! Although both policies were underwritten by Sanlam this was the only similarity. The representatives from Sanlam, UGU and the SAMWU union were unable to explain the difference to the workers.

So in December 2016 they went on an illegal strike that was to cripple the South Coast. To prevent the strike from continuing UGU management capitulated to the illegitimate demands and paid the employees R11m in a full and final settlement. The UGU MM advised Council that this was the end of the debacle. I warned him at the time, that by giving in to the worker’s illegitimate demands, he is setting a precedent and in future they will demand the rest, which is more than ten times the initial payout. As predicted, it unfortunately didn’t stop there and culminated in the catastrophic disaster we are now all facing.

Thank you to Neil Brayshaw for allowing me to use some of his information.

George Henderson
DA Ugu Councillor
DA RNM Ward 19 Councillor


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