News24

Reports of intimidation ahead of strike

2012-03-07 10:42

Johannesburg - Riot police had to be summoned to the Natalspruit Hospital, east of Johannesburg on Wednesday as a group of people tried to stop schoolchildren boarding their minibus taxis to school ahead of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) anti-tolling and labour broker protest.

"There were people who were trying to prevent scholar vehicle transport," said Ekurhuleni metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago.

But when public order police arrived the group disappeared, said Kgasago.

The children proceeded to school unhindered and nobody was injured.

"There were no more reports of intimidation," he said.

Meanwhile, another group of people had tried to stop people from entering the Kempton Park station but this also passed and groups were allowed to board the trains to Johannesburg to join the swelling ranks of protesters in the city.

Protesters gathering

Johannesburg metro police spokeswoman Superintendent Edna Mamonyane said nothing worrying had happened while protesters arrived at Beyers Naude gardens for the march across the city.

Cosatu expected at least 100 000 people to take part in 32 marches across the country with the major event taking place in Johannesburg's central business district.

The protest over the introduction of tolls on the main Pretoria/Johannesburg route and Johannesburg ring road from April 30 was going ahead in spite of Finance Minister Pravhin Gordhan's Budget allocation of R5.8bn in the 2011/12 budget towards making fees lower.

Drivers of ordinary vehicles would pay 30 cents a kilometre, with a monthly cap of R550 for frequent users.

However, Cosatu believed this was equivalent to privatising public roads, at great cost to the working class.

He told Talk Radio 702 ahead of the Johannesburg march that the fees would perpetuate the exclusion of the most marginalised of society, while the rich would happily pay the fees to travel on the roads.

There was no adequate public transport system and the government was making users pay for things it should be providing.

The trade union federation, which represents around two million employees is also totally opposed to labour brokers.

Minibus taxis have been exempt from paying the toll fee but SA National Taxi Organisation general secretary Philip Taaibosch said they have made it clear that drivers should not be penalised if they decide to participate in their personal capacity.

Transport

Bus services in Johannesburg had already been severely affected by early Wednesday morning, a Metrobus spokesperson said.

"There were quite a few buses operating in Roodepoort but then there were areas that had no operating buses," Esther Dreyer said.

Metrobus urged commuters to find other means of transport.

The SA Municipal Workers Union vowed to have every municipal worker take part in the protest.

"Fellow South Africans from all walks of life are encouraged to participate in the mass awakening that would unite the working class under one banner."

"We must force the Government and the ruling party the African National Congress to scrap the exorbitant e-Tolling system and ban modern day slavery."

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Gabu Tugwana said it was too early to say how many people didn't show up for work.

"We put in a process of an attendance register for all our departments where employees are expected to sign in and sign out this afternoon. So we should have a clear indication later this afternoon," said Tugwana

Tshwane Municipality spokesperson Pieter de Necker said the municipality had not been affected.

"We have not had any serious disruptions but a head count is being done. As far as we are concerned everything is peaceful," De Necker said.

The African People's Convention, called the tolls "nothing but robbery" which should be opposed.

Dlangezwa Mvelase spokesperson of the recently formed National Civic Forum said: "We fully support the protest. We are speaking to all our communities to go and support the protest led by Cosatu.

They would also encourage a boycott of anything associated with the tolls, including buying e-tags.

- Are you going to take part or will you be affected? Share your stories and photos with us.

Comments
  • jaz82 - 2012-03-07 10:53

    Trolls attacking school kids...

      Sean - 2012-03-07 13:31

      Most of these dumb f@ckers don`t even know why thet are striking !!

  • Cast53 - 2012-03-07 11:09

    Heard on twitter that some of the marchers are stoning vehicles, bunch of criminals hiding behind the march to vandalise, damage and destroy other peoples property. Hope Cosatu takes full responsibility and reimburse.

      Bardy - 2012-03-07 11:12

      When in SA has there EVER been a peaceful strike? Just wait... Later you will hear that they have started looting shops. Some of these people hide behind the word "strike" and are in fact there for other reasons.

      springbokke - 2012-03-07 12:07

      Most of them are in the ''Rent a crowd '' catagory. Majority are not even employed...C#$@s.

      Sean - 2012-03-07 13:32

      What can one expect from ``primitive imbeciles``

  • heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-03-07 11:12

    This is exactly why most people don't want to strike. Nothing against the strike just alot against the violence.

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2012-03-07 11:15

    The moment you intimidate a child for going to school, you should be locked up without ANY educational privileges. How dare anyone do that injustice to an innocent child's future?

  • Clive - 2012-03-07 11:21

    Cosatu might think it's being clever linking the toll road issue - which most South Africans would probably support them on - with the totally unrelated labour broker issue, but many sensible people won't join them today because of the latter. Support from the population at large will also dwindle as the inevitable reports of intimidation, violence and looting come in. And where do cases of children being intimidated into not attending school fit in with Cosatu's staement that education is the key to our country's future? Mind you, SADTU members will no doubt be absent from their classrooms again, so most township kids will get even less learning done today than on what SADTU jokingly regards as a "normal working day", i.e. about 3.5 hours.

  • Lumko Ntshinka - 2012-03-07 11:22

    Typical mfxm we will never be a progressive nation/race if this z our continued mentality, occupy wall street ddnt disrupt any young kids from recieving their education, cant we as \supposed responsible smart adults\ learn from that. we are being succesfully manipulated by our \supposed leaders\ that alone should be enough lets not jeopardise our future by disrupting our educational institutions everytime we have a dispute with gov policies. KHAWUVULE INGQONDO MNTU OMNYAMA.

  • Lumko Ntshinka - 2012-03-07 11:22

    Typical mfxm we will never be a progressive nation/race if this z our continued mentality, occupy wall street ddnt disrupt any young kids from recieving their education, cant we as \supposed responsible smart adults\ learn from that. we are being succesfully manipulated by our \supposed leaders\ that alone should be enough lets not jeopardise our future by disrupting our educational institutions everytime we have a dispute with gov policies. KHAWUVULE INGQONDO MNTU OMNYAMA.

  • Tshepo - 2012-03-07 11:34

    here in matjhabeng people have joined the march to support cosatu in banning down labour brokers,we are sick and tored for working so hard for people who just enjoying the sweat of our broves,and giving us peanut with no bonuses and safety bonuses.down with them

      Freddie - 2012-03-07 12:52

      Then you should be marching against the restrictive labour legislation passed by the ANC. Labour brokers are merely a result of this.

      Clive - 2012-03-07 13:01

      I agree that some so-called labour brokers - the "bakkie brigade" - are shocking, but if the Labour Dept did its job properly instead of turning a blind eye for a few bucks, that lot would soon be off the streets. There are brokers who abide by the law, and to ban them because of the activities of a few would exacerbate the unemployment problem. The sad fact, Tshepo, is that in an era of high unemployment, one has to paraphrase Oscar Wilde: if there is one thing worse than being exploited, it's not being exploited. I fully realise that that's not funny for the unemployed, but surely it's better to have some low-paid work than no work at all. Cosatu's call for "decent jobs" cannot apply until there is relatively full employment and, above all, a better standard of education for the masses. Right now there are too many unemployable people due to apartheid and post-apartheid education.

      Sean - 2012-03-07 13:38

      @Tshepo - Be realistic , poverty , esp. in Africa will never ever be gone ! Keep on dreaming and keep on blaming apartheid for the next 500 years ! I PROMISE YOU TODAY , LIVING CONDITIONS FOR THE MAJORITY S.A`S WILL NOT IMPROVE !! Solution - Make less babies and get eduacted , the latter will not be easy as this corrupt ANC government does not want the masses to be educated !!!!!

      Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat - 2013-08-26 17:37

      Ja, ja. For preventing children to go to school, you should be shot.

  • Jaco - 2012-03-07 11:44

    What do you expect from a bunch of criminal nut heads. Whu do police, teachers and hospital personel take part in the strike. They don't care about their jobs or the people they must serve. They are to stupid to understand their role and duty towards the society.

  • Olive - 2012-03-07 12:21

    Disagree that Cosatu merged two protests into one - i would have supported the toll fees protest, although am sure it will be a waste of time. I'm sure half the people protesting most probably don't have work !!! AND of course there is always violence/intimidation.

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