Striking workers rob street vendors

2011-08-16 14:43

Cape Town - The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) strike turned ugly in Cape Town on Tuesday when street vendors' stalls were destroyed and looted, transport companies were threatened, and tyres and bins were burned in the middle of the street. 

A group of protesters was joined by two larger groups emerging from Buitenkant Street and Sir Lowry Road at about midday. They then continued to march down Darling Street into Adderley Street towards the Civic Centre.

A Golden Arrow bus had to turn around in Sir Lowry Road after it was threatened by protesters, with some banging on the front windows and others hanging on the mirrors. Frightened passengers on board ran to the back of the bus.

One striker carried a piece of animal skin, which appeared to be that of a cow, on a grill and another man was carrying more skin in a box on top of his head. At some point the woman held the animal skin on top of one of the burning tyres.

Pepper spray

As the groups of striking workers progressed down the route, some looted stalls belonging to foreigners.

“They took my money and all my stock. Even the money that I keep in a bag around my waist,” said Duawood Hasan, a street vendor in Adderley Street who stood and watched helplessly as looters collected his money and goods from the ground.

Stall holder Nohuzuko Mpande of Goodwood told Olivia Rose-Innes she saw one of the demonstrators hit the female stall holder next to her before also stealing some of her merchandise.

Mpande estimates she had suitcases worth R1 000 or more stolen by demonstrating municipal workers in red T-shirts.

“They can strike, but they can’t hurt the people like this. And why weren’t the police here earlier to stop this?”

Police had to put an end to the ongoing looting by spraying the protesters with pepper spray.

While the riot police were dispersing the looters from the stall, one detained man was freed by his fellow strikers from the back of one of the police vans. The man then vanished into the crowd with police still not aware of the escape.

Samwu members are demanding an 18% or R2 000 increase, “whichever one is greater”.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille was later seen in Adderley Street inspecting the damage.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos

  • Rhowen - 2011-08-16 14:50

    South Africa is sick and wiping its nose won’t help. We need leaders! Each and every strike is violent and criminal but we still allow it. Nowhere in the world has failure been accepted this many times.

      Pints - 2011-08-16 15:08

      Absolutely. Things got violent here in Britain, and the government have now made baton rounds and water cannons available if it should happen again. Yet SA leaders turn a blind eye... yet again. Disgraceful.

      BOFFINBOB - 2011-08-16 15:31

      Trash...trashing !!!! Wonder if there is not a " political motivation " behind this, with Cape Town being the heart of DA country ? Strong possibility indeed.

      Kevin - 2011-08-16 15:34

      No where else does the world have an anc government

      za101 - 2011-08-16 15:35

      In addition, if strikers attack, steal, loot from non-strikers and general public, the Union should be made to compensate the person who has suffered. Ideally , I hope The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) voluntary announces today or tomorrow that it will compensate anybody who has suffered. That is the Ubuntu thing to do.

      BOFFINBOB - 2011-08-16 15:35

      Tutu has had a lot to say lately, perhaps he can drag himself out of his Bishops Court Mansion & address the " self haters. "

      Werner - 2011-08-16 15:35

      There never was, never is, and never will be, an excuse to destroy another's property/threaten the lives of others simply to get a point across. It is a seemingly irreversible trace of barbaric instinct. It is quite literally like prehistoric ages - 'At some point the woman held the animal skin on top of one of the burning tyres.' Sounds a lot like the cave age. Minutes the tyres; they hadn't (even) invented the wheel yet. You cannot (constructively) build a nation like this.

      Tc - 2011-08-16 15:35

      At least in the UK there is legal action against plunderers! In SA there is never any action. In SA plunderers get rewarded!

      Spaffy - 2011-08-16 15:41

      I cannot believe the mentality of these people.

      Anonymus - 2011-08-16 15:52

      destroy destroy destroy!! just like their "brothers" in the UK riots!

      Netherlands - 2011-08-16 18:12

      "....Mpande estimates she had suitcases worth R1 000 or more stolen by demonstrating municipal workers in red T-shirts. " Ehrenreich and Vavi will BLAME IT ON CRIMINALS THAT JUMPED ON THE BAND WAGON.... whom ALSO INCIDENTLY WORE RED T SHIRTS!!! In London, they got APPREHENDED... in South Africa, it is ACCEPTED!!!

      embargo - 2011-08-16 20:05

      Stinks of anti the DA leadership considering nowhere else has these behaviours been reported have they? Now I wonder who that may be... hmmmmm. As a gov't official once said, "if you don't like it, you are welcome to leave". Guess the same applies to those cadres and company, you are more than welcome to relocate to ANother Clown led debacle. Go and enjoy yourselves by supporting their service delivery and wage dispute actions. They need you, we don't!

  • Pixie1984 - 2011-08-16 14:50

    So this is where my tax money goes? To pay scum like this? permanently striking but never working. In that case, I'd rather pay extra to hire a private company to take away my rubbish and to clean our street. Next they will want over-time because they have to clean up their own mess...

      Fedup - 2011-08-16 14:55

      True what you say, and they will be ringing the bell in December for "Christmas Box". Sorry but they can go to hell.

      BigD - 2011-08-16 15:07

      no bloody way. I stopped da xmas box and almanac years ago

      Tolerant - 2011-08-16 15:11

      They get paid by the municipalities, def. no "Christmas box" anymore.

      katfiro - 2011-08-16 16:01

      well said

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-16 16:13

      i think come xmas, im gonna wrap one of my boa constrictors up in a shiny xmas box , sit back and watch the fun, and then f one up for scaring my snake

      Meanleader - 2011-08-16 16:14

      It sickens me to see 9 men standing around a hole in the ground , with one oak in the hole digging , and the rest standing musing at the scenery ! This is the African heritage ...disgusting !

  • THE.SRG - 2011-08-16 14:52

    And who was saying Uk is worse lol....they say we should look at UK to prevent this occurring in SA....sorry,happens here all the time where as in UK once every 30 yrs.

      Crzfst - 2011-08-16 14:53

      haha... took the words out of my mouth!

      Darwinian - 2011-08-16 15:00

      Let's see if they can arrest 1 person for violence during the strike, nevermind thousands!

      BigD - 2011-08-16 15:09

      the UK politics at its worst is still better than SA politics at its best. Daaah. That is the difference between first and turd world countries.

      ryan.macdougall - 2011-08-16 16:12

      Yip now its much like the idiots who priotested at wits about the fees going uop what they did was trash the campus so the fees had to go up. What a terrible and backwards mentality, is destroying robbing the only way they can get their demands. What i see happining is more and more industried laying out capital to get rid of worker because lets face it labour is getting too expensive and we dont get a who lot for the money.

      Jeffrey Jones - 2011-08-16 16:47

      At least in the UK the courts worked through the night to prosecute the thugs, Here we've got huge backlogs of court cases but the courts work 9-4 or somesuch.

  • O-Kay - 2011-08-16 14:55

    What I find particularly appauling is the fact that they will happily steal from people who have less than them, but they cry foul because they aren't getting paid enough! Sick! - 2011-08-16 15:31

      i didnt even think of that. these people need to burn! i just heard that a girl that must have been about 24 was stuck in her car as these municipal 'people' DESTROYED her vcar around her. she couldnt move as there was a car in front of her and at the back of her, no one could do anything as there were so many of them and we all know that these municipal 'people' would attack and kill anyone who got in their way. they are just barbarians. we should have just left them in SA, they would have been extinct by now by killing each other off.

      E_O - 2011-08-16 15:35

      Was just thinking exactly the same thing

      Albo - 2011-08-16 15:38

      `THEY` don`t see that dude. It`s all money, money, money to them. They should be locked in a zoo.

      zaatheist - 2011-08-16 15:44

      Great comment - and true.

      Felix - 2011-08-16 15:55

      Fire them and hire the shop keepers!

      katfiro - 2011-08-16 16:00

      well said!!! - 2011-08-16 16:23

      they are just making people think or even cornfirming that maybe apartheid was here for a reason

  • FU2 - 2011-08-16 14:55

    Make Cape Town dirty and filthy

      Ulrich - 2011-08-16 15:07


      Tolerant - 2011-08-16 15:19

      Some people are just jealous.

      Pulverturm - 2011-08-16 15:21

      It's full of bloody agents already! :P

      Kevin - 2011-08-16 15:35


      Ogre - 2011-08-16 16:20

      To match your character and surrounds so that you can feel at home, I suppose.

      Welleducated - 2011-08-16 16:32

      FU2 is a racist, but what can a person expect from what can ONLY be an ANC supporter. Typical little racist.

      Jeffrey Jones - 2011-08-16 16:54

      A dirty Cape Town is still a lot cleaner than any ANC run city in SA.

      Netherlands - 2011-08-16 18:16

      Nothing wrong with a "DIRTY GIRL" every so now n again.... hehe!

  • Pokkels_LOL - 2011-08-16 14:55

    Typical! They hold the country random for a ridiculous 18% increase and then steal from poor street vendors! Pathetic!!!

      Rob Gunning - 2011-08-16 15:19

      I hope they get nothing for the trouble they have caused locals.

  • - 2011-08-16 14:56

    Can someone please take these useless people out of our society. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and I found that link

  • bill - 2011-08-16 14:56

    The idea of these violent thugs robbing poor traders that have no insurance is abhorent.In addition the traders are largely black.Withdraw the 6% offer and fire the scum.

  • Benzo - 2011-08-16 14:59

    With cameras all over the city, it should be easy to identify the "comrades" and fire them before the strike is even over. ome DA, show what you are made off !!

      ryan.macdougall - 2011-08-16 16:15

      I recon the unions should fit the bill for any damage caused. Their members thier bills.

  • Darwinian - 2011-08-16 14:59

    So, 90% of street vendors are illegal anyway...

      Tolerant - 2011-08-16 15:19

      Not in Cape Town, permits are checked regulary.

      Point Blank - 2011-08-16 15:30

      Darwinian just went full retard!

      Charlie99 - 2011-08-16 15:34

      2 wrongs dont make a right idiot.

      Kevin - 2011-08-16 15:36

      They are poor and trying to make a living half breed

      Albo - 2011-08-16 15:42

      Still doesn`t mean you can blatantly rob someone. Two wrongs...

  • Think - 2011-08-16 15:00

    Break it all down, they want to be back in the bush. This is what happens when companies give in to the demands of hooligans. They don't deserve a pay rise, if they are not happy with that, then fire the lot, there are thousands of people that will do the job and appreciate the need of having one.

  • MikeL01 - 2011-08-16 15:00

    When these strikes turn violent they should cease all negotiations. If people are incapable of a peaceful protest then they don't deserve to enter into wage negotiations. Arrest the lot of them.

  • Dayat Atime - 2011-08-16 15:01

    Soylent Green

      Dave - 2011-08-16 15:27

      Soylent Green is people!

      VELOCITY - 2011-08-16 18:57

      Lol, enough Soylent Green to feed the whole starving continent of Africa...

  • I_Say - 2011-08-16 15:01

    What did you expect in the DA run minicipality !!!

      Ulrich - 2011-08-16 15:08


      derrida - 2011-08-16 15:10

      Exactly. Violence orchestrated by the ruling party and no over-reaction from the City. Had it been Ficksburg, though…

      King Solomon - 2011-08-16 15:12

      Nationwide idiot.

      demaio82 - 2011-08-16 15:15

      Instigated by the ANC no doubt!!

      Zelios - 2011-08-16 15:40

      @I_Say - Are you that stupid that you don't realise that the same strikes happen in ANC run municipalities? You are probably as witless as the strikers are. Only a total idiot could make such a nonsensical comment.

      Cire - 2011-08-16 15:49

      @I-Say. Actually you are correct! I expected the ANC and its goon squads to reject the result of a democratic election they lost - and then cause as much mindless violence and stir up as much trouble as possible until they get their own way. Creating ungovernability is the only thing the ANC and its bully boys have ever been good at. There is a direct continuity between the necklace and street violence.

  • Ann - 2011-08-16 15:01

    More ill discipline. Looks very much to me as if the ANC is behind it all because they want to make it as impossible as possible for the DA to rule in the Cape.

      es - 2011-08-16 15:15

      I agree as the the violence has only been in CT and that is why Tony E is so quiet on the violence and looting committed by his members. Clearly the ANC and their youth league are behind this looting.

      Pickle - 2011-08-16 16:17

      I agree to that.. read an article yesterday afternoon about how even though it is a national strike, guateng etc are not participating. to me that just looks like a plot against DA. but it's ok, we can take it and next week when all this crap is over the city will be clean again, not like ANC run provinces who let the litter pile up for weeks long after a strike and are now sitting with a rat infestation problem.;)

      Netherlands - 2011-08-16 18:19

      TONY Ehrenreich AND VAVI are involved here... dig a little deeper.... you will be amazed at what you might find!!!!

  • mosali - 2011-08-16 15:02

    What i cannot understand the gripe is with the Municipalities - this proves that they are not there to brown nose the municipality just terrorise the public - if their union leaders cannot control them then the union must pay for the damage. Why does the public have to suffer these hooligans.

  • York Hunt - 2011-08-16 15:03

    Ah, the noble savage!

  • AAC - 2011-08-16 15:03

    Strikes, this that what else!! If you need to get out of RSA, contact us. We offer work in Thailand and Au Pair work in Europe. Be there in a few weeks. email me

      underdog - 2011-08-16 15:19

      No thanks.

  • jh13 - 2011-08-16 15:04

    I appreciate everyone's right to strike but this is just ridiculous! If R2 000 is anywhere near the 18% they want then these people are not earning enough to be acting like this. There are lot of people (I'm one of them) who work bloody hard for a similar amount, who haven't got raises for the past two years because of the recession but do we don't act like animals, we continue to work hard and do what we can to make our situation better. The sense of entitlement amongst this group is ridiculous. A 13% increase in 2009, a 8.48% increase in 2010 and now they want another 18%?! Time for people to get a big reality check - just because you want something doesn't mean you should get it or have any right to do so.

  • JH - 2011-08-16 15:05

    Barbaric thugs, its all I can say!! But while companies in SA are forced by the goverment to employ these thugs, they will continue breaking everything along the way. We have to find a way to put these hooligans out of their jobs so they can realise what they have done

  • Slackie - 2011-08-16 15:05

    Most of these street vendors are worse off than the strikers, WTF!. What kind of low brow, thick, heartless, selfish ape behaves like this and thinks people will see his plight as just. In England when people strike the uniouns have to pay the salary's, they should do it here, when a strike looms a company can and has been known to hold out long enough for a union to go bust.

      suspect-wp - 2011-08-16 15:16

      i can understand why they feel they need to strike but again i dont think its fair to paint everyone with the same brush, some of them are really there to do something about their wages while others just join along for the opportunity to wreak havoc and cause the problems we saw today. I watched them, some of the strikers just watched as others started fires and some even tried to stop them but as in any crowd the majority defines the rules and the outcomes. So its kinda sad that everyone now gets painted as hooligans

      Slackie - 2011-08-16 15:31

      @Suspect-wp I'm sure there will be some but how many times in a year are these guys going to strike? If i'm not mistaken in the last three years there have been about 4 or 5 strikes by refuse collecters alone. There has to be some sort of measure in place to balance out. No municipal worker on this planet is happy about thier pay.

  • Virginia - 2011-08-16 15:08

    This is typical mentality of most of these workers, steal and vandalise and their government is no roll model.People are out there trying to make a living for themselves. If you watched the UK riots exactly the same, they are so hard done by that no one looted any food in the UK riots just electronics, perfume, alcohol and cigarettes, plain theft. The Union must be held responsible for all this damage and theft.

  • Ulrich - 2011-08-16 15:10

    Unions should pay a holding deposit of R1,000,000.00 before they start with industrial action.

  • Ben - 2011-08-16 15:10

    Rubber bullets, Alsations and sjambok. ...Problem solved.

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-16 16:15

      barret 50!!!

  • King Solomon - 2011-08-16 15:11

    Shoot the bastards.

  • Bok Fan - 2011-08-16 15:15

    Nice one Eherenrich. Your legacy of thuggery will no doubt carry the silent stamp of approval from Fransmal, Squatcha and the rest of the anc criminal gang.

  • The Dude - 2011-08-16 15:16

    make the unions pay for damages ..

  • Barbara - 2011-08-16 15:16

    Yes, We need leaders - in particular a President with BALLS who is not afraid (as this one is because of his past record of corruption and illigal activities) to take action against this civil disturbance. It is quite wrong that peaceful street traders and others should be financially and physically menaced by mob violence orchestrated by disaffected members of society. The Union leaders are to blame for not controlling their strikers and should be made to pay recompense for the damage these people are causing.

  • Tolerant - 2011-08-16 15:17

    The strikers did not have permission to March, lock them up and sue Samwu.

  • DivaTash - 2011-08-16 15:20

    Will someone stop this barbaric behaviour I mean really you don't need to harm and intimidate innocent people to get your message across is the duty of the union not to do the negotiations while staff still carry on with their work seriously why pay unions if any and everyone can just take to the streets when they feel the need to... it's most uncalled for if these municipal workers want to strike they should do so in a more civil manner how can you be treated with respect if you don't bloody have any for any body else!!! I'm fed up of all these darn strikes really...

  • JabaJaba - 2011-08-16 15:20

    I think that the current offer should stand....if they dont except this then they should F off....there are 1000's of unemployed people who will grab this opportunity with open arms....FIRE THESE F'ers!!!!

  • dwnwitjuju - 2011-08-16 15:22

    They will just blame it on Apartheid - isn't that the "in" excuse these days?

  • ariete - 2011-08-16 15:25

    I think municipal workers is an oxymoron anyway - disgusting

      Tolerant - 2011-08-16 15:31

      Yes, privatise theire services.

  • Cindy2810 - 2011-08-16 15:29

    friggin cockroaches!

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-16 16:16

      cockroaches dont destroy things

  • CyberDog - 2011-08-16 15:31

    feeble and pathetic.. They steal from the vendors cause they do not have the balls to take on the bigger chains tores ... typical cowards. At least even the UK kids had the balls to take on the expensive stores who can afford it.

  • za101 - 2011-08-16 15:32

    If u need to strike, you should be allowed to do so. BUT Attacking people, and stealing and looting is unacceptable. Irony is these stall holders will fall under the term "capitalist"by Malema

  • Kevin - 2011-08-16 15:33

    Come on street vendors. Take out those strikers.There are far to many so if you remove half you will be heroes

  • jay - 2011-08-16 15:34

    The looting will continue with the next strikes unless police is present and willing to take action. There seems to be the element of thugs that are riding on the back of the unionist

  • Sugar Rose - 2011-08-16 15:34

    Who's laughing now????? Karma's a bitch SA, laughing at the UK. I'd rather live here any day. Pleased I'm not in South Africa any more.

      Spaffy - 2011-08-16 15:51

      K@K comment. I don't see how the strike here compare to the riots there. And I am also pleased you are not in South Africa anymore.

      JerusalemJet - 2011-08-16 16:52

      Cuzzy - check who is taking over your Media - Lebedev + Son - watch how the manipulation unfolds under this KGB agent - until NATO collapses and Europe in under Sino Russian control - you'll be crying for your boerie rolls and Ouma rusks , but wont get a flight out ......

  • Lestor - 2011-08-16 15:35

    "Samwu members are demanding an 18% or R2 000 increase, “whichever one is greater”." Haven't they worked that out yet? Not good enough maths to figure it out? Seems like something they should have figured out if they were serious.

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-16 16:18

      R2000, WTF??? I GOT 800 Increase this year,

      Pickle - 2011-08-16 16:22

      Wanna know why they ask for R2000? it's cos it's he highest number they know. but seriously now though i work for less and only received a R200 increase this year.. Screw them man

  • Chini - 2011-08-16 15:35

    This is no strike this is a riot.

  • McDaNife - 2011-08-16 15:36

    Raw breed to say the least.

  • RedData - 2011-08-16 15:37

    With 25.7% unemployment in SA, surely these workers could be replaced. I would fire the lot for acting against the law. Where are the SAP?

  • Dunloos - 2011-08-16 15:51

    What do you expect from a bunch of animals. Cann't even respect your own kind trying to make a living on the sidewalk.

  • struth - 2011-08-16 15:52

    This was clearly part of the plot to make Cape Town ungovernable. All wearing red shirts like the devils they are. They should have had a pair of horns on their heads never mind animal skins!

  • Kris* - 2011-08-16 15:53

    and blacks wonder why the whites hate them... Appreciate what u earn! U could be unemployed, DAMMIT!

  • jaycee - 2011-08-16 15:53

    To plunder, steal and breaking down things seem to come easily to this tribe.

  • Ridah Booley - 2011-08-16 15:54

    The govt. and municipality should keep the union accountable. Bottom line. No increases cause ANIMALS do not need money. And they are ANIMALS. EFFING M#THERS!!! they trashed the place and want benefits?!?! WTF!!! If this was private sector, you will be fired and arrested.

  • AntiRacist - 2011-08-16 15:54

    Its the criminal way of SA, Get out while you can, there is nothing left!

  • Kris* - 2011-08-16 15:56

    What u strikers going to do when S.A has No more money left to pay all of you that keep demanding increases? You havnt even thought about it I bet you! Appreciate what u earn now. All you Apes ever want is More more more, yet u all are so Freaking Lazy!!! Get off ur fat asses and start working for your money!