Water workers toyi-toyi

2010-02-06 00:00

A STRIKE by workers of the Msunduzi Municipality’s water division took a violent turn yesterday as the toyi-toyiing employees set their supervisor’s car alight.

According to sources who spoke on condition that their identities be withheld, the employees downed tools on Wednesday in an attempt to force their supervisor to vacate his position.

When the strike started, the municipality promptly acquired the services of sub-contractors to fill in for the strikers.

Sources allege that when the strikers heard that sub-contractors had been hired in the interim, and were attending to burst pipes speedily, they got annoyed and started to threaten their supervisor and set his car on fire.

The supervisor locked himself in his office and called the police and fire department, who told him to stay put until their arrival, said the sources.

When police arrived on site, the sources said, the supervisor was escorted off the premises and the fire department attended to the burning vehicle.

As soon as Weekend Witness arrived, a fire engine was seen leaving the premises and police vans were seen driving in and out of the gates.

Workers refused to comment except to say they no longer want to work under their supervisor.

Police had told them to move off the premises.

An attempt to get comment from a shop steward on site failed: he said legislation prevented him from speaking to the media.

Police confirmed that a case has been opened on two counts, namely intimidation and malicious damage to property.

Acting deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services Thokozani Maseko said: “Service delivery in the water and sanitation sub-unit has been negatively affected as a result of an unauthorised work stoppage at it’s Doull Road Depot since Wednesday ...

“Management are currently addressing the issue.”

Maseko said they had enlisted the services of private contractors to help them deal with major water pipe bursts as well as other pertinent water queries.

“Consumers are requested to continue reporting their water faults to 033 392 2128 or 0800 001 868.

“We wish to apologise for any inconvenience …” Maseko said.

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