By Staff Reporter
POLOKWANE-South African Revenue Service announced on Tuesday that Polokwane and Giyani branches will remain closed while Lebowakgomo and Sibasa will start operating amid a prolonged nationwide strike.
This will bring to a total of 23 opened customs offices and reduce the number of closed SARS branches to 17.
The daily briefing comes as the Public Servants Association (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) say that they are starting to warm up to the idea of returning to wage negotiations.
Their members started to strike in May as part of wage negotiations. The strike was suspended in June, but they resumed the strike mid-July.
SARS raised its offer from 1.3% to 1.5%, but PSA and Nehawu have shown no sign of budging from their demands. Nehawu wants a hike of 12%.
PSA spokesperson Reuben Maleka says the union expected to meet with SARS at a bargaining forum on Wednesday. On Friday, there will be a meeting at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration to finalise picketing rules.
Maleka said while the union is ready to continue the strike, it is open to talks if SARS approaches it with “a better offer”.
Nehawu spokesperson Lwazi Nkolisi said the union would continue to consult with members.
By the end of last week, 21 of its branches were closed due to the strike, but by this week, this has been reduced to 17.
“Our current call volumes are high and waiting times extremely long. A number of our branches are also closed for in-person visits. All our online services are available and we encourage taxpayers to make use of these,” said SARS on its website.
The closed branches are Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Pretoria central, Alberton, Benoni, Edenvale, Krugersdorp, Randfontein, Nigel, Springs, Boksburg, Richards Bay, Trescon in Durban, Pinetown, Giyani, Polokwane, and Mmabatho.