Numsa strikers target journos

2011-07-13 14:09

A reporter and three photojournalists were intimidated and threatened with violence for covering a National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) strike in Alberton, Gauteng, earlier today.

The journalists were from City Press and Mail & Guardian.

When a photographer from City Press took out his cameras from the car, an angry Numsa mob – wielding sjamboks, knobkerries and sticks – pounced on him.

A lone police officer sprang to the photographer’s defence while his (the officer’s) colleagues looked on.

“Asibafuni. Sizobashaya. Abahambe. (We don’t want them – journalists. We are going to beat them up. They must leave),” said the strikers.

They accused the media of pushing the “white agenda”. “Take pictures of whites, not us,” they shouted.

The two photographers from Mail & Guardian were also almost beaten up and were forced not to capture the strike.

The strikers were blocking the main gate to a factory in Alrode. They were demanding that “amagundane” (a derogatory word – meaning “rats” – for non-striking workers) stop working.

Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese would not comment on the incident as he said he was in a meeting.

This is not the first time that journalists have been caught in the crossfire of the violent Numsa strike.

Last week, an television crew was also intimidated and almost assaulted while covering the strike in Florida, Gauteng.

At the time, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim condemned any form of violence and intimidation associated with the strike.

Meanwhile, the Numsa national executive committee is locked behind closed doors discussing whether or not to accept the latest offer of 8%.

The union had initially demanded a pay increase of 20% but later revised this to 13%.

They went on the indefinite strike after the employer – represented by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa – offered them 7%.

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