Strikers blast Cape Town's deputy mayor

2011-08-15 14:33

Cape Town - Striking municipal workers in Cape Town greeted Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson with anger and shouts of “18%” when he emerged from the city’s civic centre to accept their memorandum for higher wages on Monday.

Riot police officers stood guard outside the civic centre, with barbed wire surrounding much of the front part of the building.

About 3 300 South African Municipal Workers’ Union members went striking through Cape Town’s CBD as part of national strike action over wages.

The workers are demanding an 18% or R2 000 pay hike while the South African Local Government Association (Salga) is offering 6%.

In Cape Town, strikers turned out garbage bins, kicking litter across the street while shouting “phansi 6%, phansi”. Many were drinking beer while marijuana could also be smelled in the air.

The workers were hoping that Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille would come to speak to them and didn’t hold back their anger when her deputy greeted them.

Crowd shouts voetsek

Wearing a suit and tie, Neilson was heavily guarded by riot officers armed with shields and emerged from behind a police casper parked in front of the civic centre. He tried to put on a brave face when workers shouted “voetsek” and other expletives at him.

After listening to a list of demands read out by Samwu’s Andre Adams, Neilson responded by saying that “I will take your memorandum back to the mayor and mayoral committee”.

“The city appreciates the contributions workers make,” Neilson told the crowds.

“We accept your right to strike and ask that you honour the conditions of [the] strike.

“I don’t believe all the information [in the memorandum] is accurate.

“[We] must start with correct, accurate information.”

The deputy mayor ended his speech by telling workers to “enjoy the rest of your day”, to which they responded with “voetsek” and a reference to female genitalia.

Salaries too low

Many of the strikers say that their current salary is making it difficult for them to be granted loans from banks, and as a result thereof, can’t qualify to buy houses because their salary is simply too low.

Renier Martin from Fisantekraal says he has been employed permanently by the City of Cape Town since December 2009 and is earning a monthly salary of R4 350.

Martin says what he wants is a 100% increase, but he knows this will not happen so he is willing to settle for a R2 000 hike.

“Some of us who received permanent contracts from 2009 are still owed nine months worth of backpay,” said Martin, adding that he would not be surprised if they did not get the backpay owed to them.

He says that there is currently a court case underway, regarding the outstanding backpay.

Mzukiseni Mdodasi from Du Noon says he is currently earning R5 700 and he would be delighted by the R2 000 increase, because he has dreams of buying a house but does not qualify for a bank loan to do so.

He says that his transport alone costs him about R250 a week.

Adams said that the strike would continue on Tuesday. 

- Are you there? Send us your stories and photos

  • Pickle - 2011-08-15 14:42

    Mzukiseni Mdodasi from Du Noon says he is currently earning R5 700 and he would be delighted by the R2 000 increase, because he has dreams of buying a house but does not qualify for a bank loan to do so. he earns almost R2k more than what i do... ffs i am on the wrong business here -_- think I'm going to join govt employees and just strike when i feel like an increase is due.

      Avguy - 2011-08-15 14:50

      I am earning R3500 a month, no Bonus, no overtime, and no Liability a dangerous industry. Maybe we should both go work for the Government.

      Poloyatonki - 2011-08-15 14:52

      Pickle.. wow R5700 for someone who just collect rubbish with no qualification and he still thinks its little, I must admit people are now being ridiculous.

      Neil - 2011-08-15 14:53

      Look at the photo on the front page. Setting dustbins a light and then still smiling at the camera? How pathetic can you get. You call this civilized? Demand, Demand, Demand and don't want to work. R2000 increase for what? Do you deserve an increase worth R2000 due to wonderful work performance? OR is it just more fun making a nuisance of yourself and having the day off because it means actually one day less work. Funny how the sectors always start striking one after the other?

      Tolerant - 2011-08-15 14:56

      For once I agree with Poly.

      SeanJ - 2011-08-15 15:06

      Wow i earn less than Mr Mdodasi and i have a degree... R5700 for someone that picks up rubbish and cleans and he wants an extra R2000 a month... wow sounds like i need to get into that business rather.. R7700 just to walk around all day pretending to sweep and taking extra long lunch breaks..

      Virginia - 2011-08-15 15:23

      Remember people, the Unions require and increase in their fees, how do they get it, only by demanding increases for their members.This type of union demands will never end unless people are employed without joining a union, but at the same time paid a living wage.

      Pickle - 2011-08-15 15:25

      @avguy i hear you dude. I also have no benefits and don't get any leave besides the days that business is closed (6 days) for xmas.

      Neil - 2011-08-15 15:44

      News24: Another word we can add to the parrot dictionary "Blast".. If the ANC are not slamming the strikers are blasting. Lol.

      roboman1 - 2011-08-15 16:09

      The good thing by looking at the thumbs up thumbs down signs, at least shows that the majority of South Africans still understand something about work and economics. Geez, where can you expect to double your salary in less than 2 years of work, its ludicrous!

      windkind - 2011-08-15 18:12

      Yeah thats actually amazing. R5700 for a menial job like that? I am a business owner and our cleaner earns R3500 a month, our driver R4000 (a more skilled job than picking up rubbish) and our filing lady also R3500. They're just thankful they have jobs.

      The Wonderer - 2011-08-16 09:49

      WE CAN ALL THANK PRAVIN GORDHAN!!! He wasted R2,5 BILLION by giving it to Swazi land, NOW the government workers sees there is money to be wasted, so THEY now want more! They'll stop at nothing, send Pravin out to go clean up & speak & explain to those out of order strikers WE now have to deal with!

      The Wonderer - 2011-08-16 15:47


  • Johnny - 2011-08-15 14:46

    love the comment "voetsak and a reference to female genitalia" doesn't leave much for the imagination

      Dominic - 2011-08-15 15:05

      His mother's?

      daaidoos - 2011-08-15 15:23

      yes and that is with the drugs and alcohol flowing as well. I would say voetsak first learn manners and some level of civilized behaviour before demanding any increase freaking animals

  • grant.hide - 2011-08-15 14:48

    They must go back to joeburg where they came from.

      willieman - 2011-08-15 14:56

      If they have to go to Joburg then you have to go some else where you come from

      daaidoos - 2011-08-15 15:25

      they must go back to the zoo and so can willieman

      roboman1 - 2011-08-15 16:13

      pathetic comment Grant, kind of place you on a par with the people striking, who I very much doubt come from Johannesburg, the city with the best work ethic in SA, and I have lived and worked in both cities. In fact the language the article allueds to is most Capetonian, almost upper capetonian.

  • onmyway - 2011-08-15 14:49

    Dream on! We are still recovering from a recession, the past four months of striking, and might face another recession if USA's markets crash. Be realistic!

      daaidoos - 2011-08-15 15:26

      it's the ratepayers that's gonna have to foot the bill.

      chan chan - 2011-08-15 15:53

      they r too stupid to read or understand the economy ...... they dont know what realistic means ...

  • willieman - 2011-08-15 14:49

    This is vuvuzela politics followers,they present the memorandum and they keep on making noise they do not listen to the deputy mayor.What's the point of presenting the memorandum if you not going to listen.The HEARSAY DANCING BRIGATE.they will be asking one another about what the dep.mayor said ,ga!!!! pathetic we got a long way to go

      Nicolene - 2011-08-15 16:17

      haha, funny. i actually heard a vuvuzela or two going off...

  • Komasa - 2011-08-15 14:50

    Guaranteed Neilson has no salaries owed to him.

      Tolerant - 2011-08-15 14:55

      Not bad for lowest paid workers. Some secretaries in private sector earns the same or less.

      hogord - 2011-08-15 14:57

      Probably because he has does more work in day than you've done in a lifetime.

      sganja - 2011-08-15 15:10

      What they need is too much.

      ChumScrubber - 2011-08-15 15:12

      He probably does his job, thats why.

  • enrolics - 2011-08-15 14:52

    wtf. Seriously these people earn 25% of my monthly salary and I have a doctorate degree!

      sganja - 2011-08-15 15:00

      Are you working for University or Indutry?

      ChumScrubber - 2011-08-15 15:13

      You only earn R20k with a doctorate? Which one you got?

      VELOCITY - 2011-08-15 15:30

      Lol, R25K for a Doctorate, University of Vaalwater I suppose?

      InternetMan - 2011-08-15 15:58

      "doctorate degree" does not mean he is a GP with his own practice in fact it means nothing in terms of what you earn.

  • JadedJay - 2011-08-15 14:55

    babaric neanderthals...

  • Llewellyn - 2011-08-15 14:56

    South African workers are clearly spoilt. Simple and barbaric no brainers who totally lack manners and do not deserve what they have. I earned much less than these fellow but lived descent in South Africa. These guys want to just have and have but when the coffers are dry where will they turn then, on each other?

      ChumScrubber - 2011-08-15 15:15

      No, they will blame us whitees and turn on us - oh, they already have ...

  • Philip - 2011-08-15 14:56

    18% ???? and the private sector looking at 0 - 6% , can I have a job please ?? ... sorry forgot .. I can't

      daaidoos - 2011-08-15 15:28

      sorry boet wrong colour

      Kaleidoscope - 2011-08-15 16:03

      @Daaidoos yep wrong colour Philip shoud've applied pre 1994.

  • Larch Strober - 2011-08-15 15:02

    I wonder where the money came from for drink and pot? Maybe drink less and smoke less and your budget will look much better..?

      ChumScrubber - 2011-08-15 15:16

      Plenty pap and wors too - look at the lard @sses, or is that just from being lazy slobs.

  • ChumScrubber - 2011-08-15 15:10

    Those "poor" workers in the photo are very fat. Wonder who feeds them so much, considering they earn so "little". Spoilt, useless, lazy, prideless, demanding brats. The more they are given, the less they work, and the bigger their "deemunds" become.

  • Ben - 2011-08-15 15:12

    These people are crazy. Soon they'd want a doctor's salary for what they do. Morons!

  • Virginia - 2011-08-15 15:20

    its about time you peole realised that you are unskilled workers, your government has laid down wages to suit your job, why distroy your city. Take your complaint to parliament, they allocate payment to the provinces, they put up rates and taxes to pay you, and another thing be grateful that you have job, some people out there cannot even feed their children. Its about time some of you were set to work in Zim, Congo,any of these countries where the people are unspoilt. Start living according to you wages.

      Pickle - 2011-08-15 16:11

      very true Virginia.. and what about the skilled workers who's salaries remain the same year after year, who aren't guaranteed an increase, who's living expenses become more and more as fuel and rates go up. what about them/us? i honestly do not know what to think or say anymore. -_-

      Jeffrey Jones - 2011-08-15 16:56

      I have a domestic worker a refugee from the Congo, she works 10 times harder than any SA black woman I have ever come across. Lives in a container with her family, no electricity and a cold water tap outside and a portaloo. She can't believe that SA blacks want everything for nothing. Says she never heard of it in any other African blacks.

      kleindeef - 2011-08-15 17:20

      @Pickle. True that. Also business owners that cannot up there rates. I simply could not increase my rates for the last three years. Doing such would have put me out of business. My workers however got their 8% increase every year. This 24% increase in salaries meant a 12% decrease in my personal income for the last three years (salaries constitutes 50% of my costs). The 12% decrease I "received" does not even take into account escalation of other cost items. Aag what the hell. The boss is in any case always the d@@s.

  • Born To Fish - 2011-08-15 15:25


  • Neles - 2011-08-15 15:25

    Do they still have housing subsidies for municipal workers? Or was that scrapped?

  • spikytiger2001 - 2011-08-15 15:29


  • Andrea Naude - 2011-08-15 15:29

    These people are arrogant lowly schooled products of the ANC - go to them and DEMAND it from them. Other wise make way for MANY THOUSANDS of other people who will work for less.

      CR - 2011-08-15 16:04

      Well Andrea before you bring politics in, Look at the strikers ages, all middle age who were schooled during Apartheid. So dont you think they products of the NP?

  • Zeppie - 2011-08-15 15:30

    Why give a memorandum to the Cape Town’s not them negotiating the salary increase for the employer...its SALGA

      ilitirit - 2011-08-15 16:07

      Because at the end of the day, the municipality has to pay the salaries. SALGA and members of various labour committees passes on a recommendation (via the bargaining council) to the municipalities which they can accept or reject. Municipalities have already rejected a conciliator's recommendation 7.5% increase as too high. (A 7.5% increase results in an additional cost of just under R100mn for the JHB and CPT municipalities. An increase of 18% pushes this cost to over R800mn.) SAMWU claims that if SALGA were more willing to negotiate they would not have used 18% as a starting point for their demands. They claim that the money can be recuperated by tackling wasteful expenditure through corruption.

  • Dickie - 2011-08-15 15:36

    I agree wholeheartedly with Virginia. The workers are getting totally out-of-hand with their wage demands.

  • HJS - 2011-08-15 15:41

    What a morale booster to look at the photos of the Cape Town "action". So encouraging to see the level of "energy & enthusiasm" displayed by these hopelesly overpaid individuals. Now just imagine if they performed their daily duties with even HALF the vigour they put into a protest/vandalising march. What a difference that would make to productivity. Some employers might even be inclined to willingly reward such diligence then. Oh Ok I've just woken up from my dream. Sorry.

  • ChumScrubber - 2011-08-15 15:44

    Today they trashed our small Lowveld town. I think black people just like the look of litter. We'll never understand it, we don't think the same.

      Methods - 2011-08-16 01:13

      Or maybe the working class don't tend to prioritise environmental etiquette over a chance to improve their quality of life and you're a prejudiced tit?

  • MattQ4 - 2011-08-15 15:45

    ..."Many were drinking beer while marijuana could also be smelled in the air"... At least the strikers were supporting local industry :)

  • Sean - 2011-08-15 15:48

    And once again there is ample evidence of a total lack of economic savvy amongst the illiterate workers and an even more nefarious plan by the unions to keep the worker uneducated.BAN ALL UNIONS AND SHOOT THE LEADERS!!!

  • keng - 2011-08-15 15:54

    "Renier Martin from Fisantekraal says he has been employed permanently by the City of Cape Town since December 2009 and is earning a monthly salary of R4 350" and Renier My daughter has a Bcom degree from Unisa. Has her own office, looks after admin staff and brings in new business\handles customer relationships for a national transport company. She would love to earn what you do. Also she doesn't need her "Stats" pass to work that out.

      InternetMan - 2011-08-15 16:01

      Ok. These people are definitely overpaid, but your daughter is getting screwed or she is lying to you regarding her salary.

      Sara76 - 2011-08-15 16:12

      InternetMan, dount she is lying.I do similar work, married with 2 kids and come home with R4900.00 after deductions however, suppose Im just thankful I have a job. Ps: I also work for a huge national co! ;-)

      keng - 2011-08-15 19:18

      @InternetMan Yes I understand your comments. No my daughter isn't lying she still stays with us @home. She is happy to be employed. My son who left SA for London and now lives in Australia wants her to come over to Brisbane for 12 months working holiday next year. Both the wife and I fear (but if it's better for her) that her holiday will turn into something more permanent. There was once a similar situation in a previous communist country were the dentists were eventually paid on a par with the cleaners. Hence everyone had rotten teeth.

  • roboman1 - 2011-08-15 16:07

    These people are crazy, I employ 14 staff in my small business, and lots of them do not earn R5000 per month, and they do not strike and we all get on well, and they know how much/little my business makes, and we all try and make things work for each other in out small way. Geez, where do you double your salary every year, hello, that one guy has not even worked there for 2 years and expects his salary to double, what do these people smoke? Where do they think the money comes from anyway? Well done to the poor Deputy Mayor who came and politely took the abuse, poor guy.

      InternetMan - 2011-08-15 16:13

      Someone should tell these idiot to get stuffed. Not politely take the abuse since its unwarranted.

  • Boer81 - 2011-08-15 16:11


  • Boer81 - 2011-08-15 16:14

    more money no work. die land is in sy kanon

  • Jasber - 2011-08-15 16:18

    We the public must remember all of this when the municipal workers knock on our doors at Christmas time for an annual bonsela from us - this year it is go to hell from me !!

  • - 2011-08-15 17:45

    Every year it is exactly the same - demand unrealistic increases and get them. At this rate, they WILL be earning more than most of us! Why do they think that EVERY SINGLE YEAR they can get above average increases? Oh sorry, because that is what they have been "promised" during the elections......they need to start understanding that money does not grow on trees and people are expected to actually WORK for the money they earn. Increases, bonuses, subsidies, etc are NOT a guarenteed in this world either.

  • - 2011-08-15 17:47

    Oh and another this rate, I would rather take a cut in my rates, retrench the money grabbers and take my own garbage to the dump!

  • Rijger - 2011-08-15 18:26

    You know, with unemployment figures at 70% of the youth and about 30% of the rest, why do the employers not stick to their guns for a change, offer them 6%, if the employees refuse, fire them and replace them with people that can and will work for those wages? Rather spend the 18% on creating employment than give it to people who will definitely strike again, either in the near future on a whim, or next year "Because we've got money for alcohol and pot, but not for living expenses"

  • GREEN BEAN - 2011-08-16 10:22

    There is something fundamentally wrong in society if a municipal worker earns R 4 350.00 per month whilst the CEO of Eskom earns R 478 000.00 per month ? Even if the worker is a garbage collector, which is an importnat job that has to be done, his or her work should have a value of more than R 4 350.00 per month ? Can the value of work of the CEO be R 478 000.00 per month when Eskom seems in a pretty wobblly state ?

  • scaleslayer - 2011-08-16 14:33

    This is pathetic. My girlfriend has a degree from UCT and is earning R5700, even after working at the company for nearly 2 years. How is a person picking up rubbish deemed to earn more money than a person that has spent around R40 000 trying to get an education? Clearly these strikers need an education about common sense. And they still trash the mother city like its their own personal play pen. They all need to be sent invoices for damage done to property, vehicles and stock from stalls. This should be deducted from their salary! If anyone in any other work place had to do this, there would be major repercussions.

  • Welcome - 2011-08-16 16:29

    And these are the mothers and fathers of our future.....very, very embarrassing. Why the weapons people? The struggle ended a generation ago....

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