City of Cape Town warns strikers of action

2011-08-16 19:44

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has warned striking municipal workers that it will take "whatever action is necessary" to protect its property after a protest for higher wages turned violent in the city centre on Tuesday morning.

"Should Samwu (the South African Municipal Workers Union) and its members continue to behave in the manner displayed thus far, the city will have no option but to take whatever action is lawfully necessary to ensure the safety of its employees, the community and public property," Demetri Qually, the mayoral committee member for corporate services said.

As a result of the violence the city said it would seek an interdict against the continuation of the strike.

Earlier on Tuesday, municipal workers looted vendors’ stalls, set plastic bins on fire and smashed the windows of vehicles as they protested in the city centre.

One of the city's main shopping avenues, Adderley Street, was left covered with litter and burned out bins.

Parliament cordoned off

A number of vendors who sell goods such as cosmetics, coffee, wallets and belts on the pavements of the street were unpacking goods they had tried to hide as the workers approached.

Shops on the street locked their doors as the workers, who were seen smashing the windows of vehicles, approached.

Parliament, near the top end of Adderley Street, was also cordoned off by the police.

Thirteen protesters were arrested and would be charged with public violence, police said.

Samwu is demanding an 18% pay increase. The SA Local Government Association is offering 6%.
The countrywide strike began on Monday.

The City of Cape Town said 5 170 staff or 21% of the its workforce was absent from work without authorisation on Tuesday.

Non-striking staff members

"The practise of coming in to work first seems to be part of Samwu members’ strategy of trying to intimidate their colleagues into participating in the strike and hindering the delivery of municipal services," the city said.

"The city is investigating a possible case of abduction of two staff members in the northern suburbs who refused to participate in the strike."

The city said the strike has had "a significant impact" on refuse collection.

"The city’s crews worked late into last night to try and address the backlog, but unfortunately could not clear all of it.

  • embargo - 2011-08-16 19:55

    Oh, now where are the comments about the UK? See the similarity in behaviours? Surely these unions can avoid mass-action, strikes, counter-productivity behaviours by reasoning at the negotiating table instead of their members behaving like this? Hold the unions responsible as they promoted the mass-action movement!!!

      Dominic - 2011-08-16 20:45

      Problem is they agreed to a 6% wage hike as part of a three-year deal. The first 2 years the hikes were significantly higher. They also agreed not to renegotiate the deal unless inflation was above a maximum threshold (the hike would then be higher) or it was below a minimum (the hike could then be lower). Inflation has been below the minimum threshold. The only reasoning at the negotiating table could be for a reduced wage hike.

  • daspoort - 2011-08-16 19:58

    I have said it before and I will say it again: It is easy to stop strikers to loot and damage property in strikes. The union who wishes to strike need to pay a deposit...not R5000, but R1,000,000 to R5,000,000. In any event of damage to property (even if it was done by someone not affiliated by the union, as they so often claim), the deposit is used to pay for the repairs, and any balance on the deposit is kept by the municipality. Easy. Hit the unions where it hurts the pocket...the fat ass union bosses anyway dont give a damn about the workers, they (the bosses) laugh all the way to the bank as the strikers fund their enormous salaries, as well as doing all the dirty work while they sit back...

      Skuinskoek - 2011-08-16 20:15

      I'm so angry when I see the HUGE amounts (in comparison to their salaries) some of these union members pay in fees - at my place of work they lucky to have one meeting a year! Fat cat "bosses" indeed - union bosses!

      Neil - 2011-08-16 20:25

      @Dasspoort: as well as doing all the dirty work while they sit back... Dirty work? Did you see the smiles on their stupid faces? They just enjoy making a nuisance of themselves really. The best they can with strikes is to irritate people.

  • DJI - 2011-08-16 20:09

    This is sad, there are some people trying to build a country, while others is trying to destroy it.

      Justfred - 2011-08-16 20:39

      my thoughts exactly DJI. It's times like these that I feel really depressed - so what is the point of me helping in the townships? So why am I trying to uplift previously disadvantaged children and give them a better future? My work becomes meaningless in the light of what is happening in the country - may as well pack up and leave!

      Circa - 2011-08-16 20:41

      Yes, like for example the folk selling their flowers in Cape Town ever since I can remember .... why the hell did they need to destroy the flower stands??

  • Softy - 2011-08-16 20:10


      Enclosed - 2011-08-16 20:12

      That they are.......

      Circa - 2011-08-16 20:24

      This I am afraid ladies & gentlemen is their modus operandi ..... forever breaking down and destroying things ..... oh yes, the other thing they can do well is to organize parties.

  • edalsg - 2011-08-16 20:12

    shoot the bastards !

  • Monica - 2011-08-16 20:21

    Send these destructive people to Robben Island to go and clean up there! Why are they still employed when people that want to work go hungry? Watching TV what happened in England; obviously they are not that poor; still have TV in their homes! Fire the lot and employ people that want to work!

  • ianeen - 2011-08-16 20:23

    I hope that the municipality have got their cameras on the strikers causing damage , once the strike is over lay charges against them like in England. Secondly any employee who leaves his place of employment with out the employers consent can be charged with desertion and fired, they would also have to pay the employer one months notice, that is the law use it.

  • ErrolNdevu - 2011-08-16 20:23

    Strike my brothers take back what is yours you must demand for the 18 present!!! Show the brittish how its donem Amandla

      Circa - 2011-08-16 20:29

      Hi Errol, you off course realise that SA is the only country in the world where the majority is demanding from a minority ..... you need to make the economy grow in order to create wealth ... aah what the hell, your comment is a dead give away of your IQ level whiskey looks much more interesting...

      gatvol4corru - 2011-08-16 20:34

      Idiot! You also missed out on education?

      edalsg - 2011-08-16 20:40

      18% PRESENT !!!! Brittish !!! donem !!! Clearly a disadvantaged uneducated piece of trash --get your striking cadres to bin you !

  • John - 2011-08-16 20:25

    Instead of inciting violence SAMWU should busy itself with improving the work ethic and productivity of it's members. Violence should be met with jail time. Go DA!

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-08-16 20:32

    Use force and remove the idiots from our streets! Thanks JZ for the support!

  • vince muller - 2011-08-16 20:36

    Let SAMWU pay for all damages and clean up services that was incurred due to the strike. Bastards. And you want to convince me they are humans. Animals don't even behave in such a manner

  • beicime - 2011-08-16 20:37

    Why destroy property of people that has nothing to do with it? I support strikes but not destruction. The Unions in South Africa can't build a country and its leaders are no more than fat cats in the gravy train. The strikers are not paid but the Union leaders are paid.

  • X-Ray - 2011-08-16 20:47

    I feel so sorry for the vendors. All their things robbed and destroyed by a mob of barbaric hooligans. This is one big disgrace for that so called Union and to the people of South Africa. A very bad way to show the world your real character. Strikers makes me sick!!

  • John - 2011-08-16 20:48

    SAMWU must be held liable for ALL costs resulting from destruction of roads (burning asphalt) broken windows, thefts, damage to property etc. Take the suckers to the cleaners !!! bankrupt the bastards It should NOT be the tax payer that pays for their barbaric deeds

  • Tomas - 2011-08-16 21:22

    My djirre, hulle doen dan in elk geval f#kkol! Waarvoor wil die h@#rkinners 18% he!!

  • william hallett - 2011-08-16 21:50


  • Mary-Ann Nagel - 2011-08-16 21:57

    Put them all in jail, its a disgrace!

  • An0nThoughts - 2011-08-16 22:07

    to little to late. Property already got destroyed. Along with people's car windows smashed, vendors got looted and assaulted. Disgusting behavior!!

  • Dayat Atime - 2011-08-17 09:24

    Soylent Green

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