Thousands march in Cape Town

2011-08-17 13:59

Cape Town - Thousands of SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) members marched through the streets of Cape Town’s CBD on Wednesday to demand higher wages.

The march was in a completely different in tone to Monday and Tuesday’s strike by SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members which saw looting and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille threatening to sue the union for damages to property in the city.

Braving a heavy police contingent and unseasonal heat, the strikers - from the cleaning sector - marched from the Castle of Good Hope to Parliament. They held hands and sang.

At the front of the group was a line of riot police, one of whom admitted to suffering in the hot sun under the heavy padded gear he was wearing.  

Onlookers stood on balconies, pavements and in coffee shops taking pictures of the event.

When the striking workers made it to Parliament, they were met with more riot police.

After a few speeches by SACP, Satawu and Cosatu members, the department of labour’s deputy director general Les Kettledas came out from Parliament to accept the union’s memorandum.


Workers want a basic salary of R4 200 a month, and a 10% increase for those earning above R4 200. In addition, they wanted a yearly 13th cheque, an eight-hour working day, and for members in rural areas to be paid the same as their urban colleagues.

Meanwhile, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) in the Western Cape promised that it would not allow the “looting or rioting” that occurred during the Samwu strike on Tuesday.

Imatu’s Etienne Bruwer told News24 that its 70 000 members would not begin marching on Wednesday and can only officially start from Friday.

He said that it has about 3 000 - 5 000 members in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile, Mario Jacobs from Samwu said that the union will be continuing its strike for another day. About 4 000 - 5 000 Samwu members in the Western Cape are striking for higher wages.

He said that a few depots are not running and that strikes will be staged at various civic centres around the Cape Town metropole, including Cape Town, Bellville, Plumstead, Khayelitsha and Strand.

Samwu is demanding an 18% pay increase. The SA Local Government Association is offering 6%.

Jacobs also said that it had not yet received any written notification from De Lille about the City of Cape Town suing Samwu for damages.

  • happygolucky - 2011-08-17 14:08


      Refilwemu - 2011-08-17 14:40

      u sound like one yourself

      happygolucky - 2011-08-17 14:40

      Im surprised these little insignificant cockroaches havnt protested for higher IQ's and free KFC

      Neil - 2011-08-17 14:47

      And so the "troop" is still struggling 17 years later on. Everything will be a struggle if you have a peanut for a brain.

      Kleinjan - 2011-08-17 14:54

      They are affiliated with the ANC. They didn't vote DA. It's their government that's letting them down. GET WHAT YOU VOTED FOR!!

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-17 14:54

      "Workers want a basic salary of R4 200 a month, and a 10% increase for those earning above R4 200. In addition, they wanted a yearly 13th cheque, an eight-hour working day, and for members in rural areas to be paid the same as their urban colleagues. " Anything else? Would they like fries with that? Gosh, why don't they just ask for peace on earth and an end to war while they're at it?

      happygolucky - 2011-08-17 15:00

      @Refilwemu: i can be one...and a BIG one

      Neil - 2011-08-17 15:01

      Funny how the goverment can't control the monster they created? HA HA HA...

      TBOOZE - 2011-08-17 15:12

      As if the previous apartheid government didn't let us down.....yhee right

      Virginia - 2011-08-17 15:19

      Holysnake, its because of people like you , that there will never be reconciliation in this country. The unions are taking you people for a ride.These strike are only because those high paid individuals that run the unions require and increase, so up goes the membership fee, the member wont pay it so what better then organise a strike.

      TBOOZE - 2011-08-17 15:52

      Virginia ANC gave poor black people something called Freedom, and the more white people are still denial about the way they treated black people in the past shows that if they come 2 power again they might do it again because they still don't recognize they did something wrong......

      RichyRich - 2011-08-17 16:06

      maybe its back to shamboks time? This is Africa after all!!

  • panafricanis - 2011-08-17 14:09

    good, its their democratic right to protest againts pathetic conditions of employment....The police must not intimidate the workers.

      Duffster - 2011-08-17 14:13

      And the workers must not intimidate everyone else...

      Ulrich - 2011-08-17 14:14

      hamba! They are Hooligans!

      Charlie - 2011-08-17 14:16

      We should also be protesting about pathetic service delivery, our pathetic justice system (or lack thereof), our pathetic government to name but a few out of a whole bunch of wrong doings in this country, but you don't see us behaving like hooligans!

      sinvol - 2011-08-17 14:18

      Duffster... Why would you reply to such a comment??? When will news24 readers learn that responding won't help. "They" are laughing at us....

      Duffster - 2011-08-17 14:23

      @sinvol He is right, they do have a democratic right to protest, and if they do it without infringing upon anyone else's right to work, movement, choice etc, then there would be no need for police intervention.

      Rightbydan - 2011-08-17 14:26


      panafricanis - 2011-08-17 14:30

      @Duffster "Braving a heavy police contingent" if that is not intimidation then I dont know what to call intimidation....

      ProudofPink - 2011-08-17 14:37

      Pity they don't spend this much energy doing their jobs! Pity they don't march like this on their glorious thieving ANC government to demand a better education so they don't have to demand ridiculous salaries that are not appropriate to the work they do. Pity they don't all get fired and their jobs given to the unemployed who would be only too grateful to have a job.

      Spaffy - 2011-08-17 14:46

      Well panafricanis, what do you expect after the looting and violence earlier this week? Prevention is better than cure.

      Together - 2011-08-17 14:46

      I was there yesterday, and the police were not the ones stealing from mothers running stalls to feed families. What a ridiculour viewpoint. You wish that the cops WERE being heavyhanded so you'd have something to make you MORE angry. Anger is not actually a philosophy or an ideal - it's a failure to work out the puzzle, an inability to negotiate. And that's what is putting jobs more and more at risk - too much anger and too little commitment to the future. Rethink your position, if you really care about workers.

      Kleinjan - 2011-08-17 15:07

      Maybe they should resign from their pathetic conditions.

      Virginia - 2011-08-17 15:24

      Panaafricanis, what were you told when you voted the ANC government in again, do not complain, COSATU is part of this government, why dont you people go and tear down their offices etc. COSATU WAS SUPPOSED TO SEE THAT THE MINIMUM WAGE WAS NOT SO MINIMUM, that earning in this country would be a living wage, but no its easier to blame the minority nations that have the correct priorities then the ANC bad management of this

      phumlanim - 2011-08-17 15:30

      I agree with yuo son of the soil, yuo can see the responses from the capitalist,

  • sinvol - 2011-08-17 14:10

    March while you can....tommorow it won't rain but pour!!

  • Mike or Mpho - 2011-08-17 14:16

    There is nothing qwrong with striking,as long as the requests are not insane and that the protests are non-violent. Simple

      Andy - 2011-08-17 14:38

      And these requests are insane and violent.

      Spaffy - 2011-08-17 14:43


  • MattQ4 - 2011-08-17 14:25

    What can you as a citizen do? Simple... when December comes... DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE A BONUS... never again!! This year when any municipal workers rings your doorbell and asks for the "Christmas Box" remind them of August, remind them that no rubbish was collected, the bins were burnt and traffic was backed up. Remind them that the CBD was trashed and traders were robbed... then look them in the eyes, smile and say ..."I will not pay you a christmas bonus after the way your union behaved in August" If enough of us actually make a point of doing this when year end comes, these people will seriously reconsider their actions. Our problem as tax paying citizens is that we have become too complacent to actually act.. we complain and type but we DO NOT ACT I for one am making a point of not paying any bonuses .. I'm even keeping the front page of todays Cape Times... and when they come knocking I'll hold up my old newspaper, smile and say ..."No bloody way!"

      Charlie - 2011-08-17 14:30

      Good idea MattQ4, I would do the same but next thing you know you are a target for their buddies to come and hijack, rob or even murder you. It is so ridiculous they way we fear for our lives.

      ProudofPink - 2011-08-17 14:39

      I NEVER give them a bonus anyway. Why should I? I'm not their employer and I pay my rates and taxes which pays their salary.

  • Cupcake - 2011-08-17 14:32

    Ummmm ok, my first job as an intern, WITH A DEGREE, paid me R1500 per month! No 13th cheque! Then my second job as a proper account executive, WITH A DEGREE, paid me R4000, no 13th cheque! What are these people smoking??? Ridiculous demands will cripple this country even more.

      panafricanis - 2011-08-17 14:36

      Yeah right didnt have to pay rent because your father paid for your, you dont have children to feed, you didnt have to pay trasnport because you stayed at home, had a car while you studying..I can go on....The benefits of apartheid make people haughty....yeart

      sinvol - 2011-08-17 14:38

      Maybe you should have less children....?

      ProudofPink - 2011-08-17 14:38

      They're too thick to understand this!

      Mike or Mpho - 2011-08-17 14:42

      @panafricanis - Here is an idea, if you don't have money for kids, don't have kids, period! Why should we feel sorry for you because you don't know how to use a condom? And shut up about apartheid already, it's disgusting how people like you expect everything to be given to you. Work for it, and improve your productivity and skill set, then you will see a rise in remuneration accordingly. Simple economics

      Together - 2011-08-17 14:42

      panafricanis - you obviously know very few South Africans from any group other than your own. Comments like this don't tell us anything about Cupcake, but they reveal how ignorant you are about anyone else's reality. The last time my father paid anything for me was when I was 18 - and I still had to find part-time work to stretch it. No-one has ever bought me a car, and I had to pay my own way from 18. That's how it worked in my culture and class growing up. Your prejudice is shameful.

      Observer - 2011-08-17 14:47

      @panafricanis - you must Cupcake personally to know so much about them? Or are you just making these assumptions to try and prove a point?

      Observer - 2011-08-17 14:56

      In my haste...meant to be "you must KNOW...."

  • Loodpil - 2011-08-17 14:41

    Some guy on here said they wouldn't be striking if it wasn't for white people. His comment is now removed but I would like to take the time to commend this person on his impressive use of deductive logic, and, might I say, I agree with him because: 1. In order to strike you must have a job 2. Infrastructure/transport created these jobs 3. White people created infrastructure/transport system 4. Deductive logic would therefore, indeed, suggest that white people are to blame.

  • HumanKind - 2011-08-17 14:46

    "they wanted a yearly 13th cheque". WTF. We in the Private Sector don't know what this is, and another thing, we have not had an increase in the last 2 years. If they don't like it, let them go, there are thousand of unemployed people whio will happily fill their places

  • alfred.willie - 2011-08-17 14:46

    I congratulate the workers who are also patriots for taking up this kind of action to fullfill what was said In the freedom charter,that the shall share in the country's wealth. Viva maqabane, I also hoping that soon the security industry will learn the lestern and take on what belong to them not to be the slaves in your country, where you was created with the soil of it. How can you secrifice your life for R11.30 protecting the lives and proparty at the end of the day you get R2000 monthly. Where is our government who represent us? Comrade I am supporting you 100% No matter what ? I am a security officer who is working long hours and being under paid. I wish one day we may come together we the workers and one major strike. Alfred Capetown

      Spaffy - 2011-08-17 15:02

      Isn't security a private sector? Not that I am knocking you , R2k a month is a pathetic salary and I would never be able to survive on that so I certainly don't expect you to. But i think you are barking up the wrong tree. "Where is our government who represent us?" Good question, where do you think?

      MrSpiderman - 2011-08-17 15:02

      Alfred, I actually agree with you on this one! WHERE IS YOUR GOVERNMENT and WHERE WERE THEY THE PREVIOUS YEARS??? Take their salary and do their job (nothing) and swop it for yours to do something positive for this country! Let's see if THEY can manage?

      Mike or Mpho - 2011-08-17 15:05

      You will find that most will agree with you. your problem is not the previous regime but the present one. ANC is to blame for your low salaries, they are in charge of implementing minimum salary structures, but instead of working for you, they steal your money by giving themselves minimum 30% salary increases, money that should have been used on alleviating poverty and to improve wealth distribution

  • justmejoe - 2011-08-17 14:46

    ANIMALS!!!! Maybe throw in a few soccer balls to prevent further damage.

  • Tilly - 2011-08-17 14:50

    Yip any reason not to work and to destroy property and our economy until there's nothing left of this country but barren ground. After destruction they will cry to the world "we have nothing because of apartheid". The more they destroy the more it will cost to fix the less there will be to pay, but they have not foresight or logic. There are many unemployed people who would just like to have a job no matter how much they get paid in order to put a plate of food on the table.

  • biskit - 2011-08-17 14:51

    Be grateful you could be in somalia

  • letsee - 2011-08-17 14:53

    I'm all for unions but unions with leaders educated to educate their members in balancing attitudes, behaviours, productivity and wages. Unfortunately we don't have those leaders in the unions.

  • Dirky - 2011-08-17 14:54

    Why don't all the unions go on strike in all sectors at the same time every year for a full month and demand 16%, settle on 7.5%, the rest of us can plan for it and go on our overseas holidays.

  • sibo myeni - 2011-08-17 14:57

    i have to wonder, how much influence have the London riots to the samwu strike! seems like the 'yob' effect is spreading wider than expected!!!!! 'ýobiness' people is just not ayoba!!!! its just criminal and so ineffective, but worst of all it makes those rioting look like fools. De lille has indicated on enews channel that they are busy looking at the cctv footage and samwu will definately be charged in accodance with the criminal act. now where will samwu get the money to pay, when sued. from its very members! .....loosing battle!! if u get what i mean

  • Andre - 2011-08-17 15:01

    The Zot = the Scourge of the Earth

      MSGRule - 2011-08-17 15:09

      Similarities = Locusts are the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory. They form bands as nymphs and swarms as adults—both of which can travel great distances, rapidly stripping fields and greatly damaging crops.

      MSGRule - 2011-08-17 15:15

      Strikers are the swarming phase of short-haired people of the family ANC. These are species that can breed rapidly under any condition and subsequently become gregarious and migratory. They form gangs as nymphs and swarms as adults—both of which can travel great distances, rapidly stripping cities and greatly damaging buildings and private property.

  • Mindtone - 2011-08-17 15:01

    It's interesting to see the arrogance and insensitive utterances of the middle class without any consideration for the plight of the poor and the working class. What a bunch of selfish ignorant individualists!

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-08-17 15:09

    I have some sympathy for these people, some of whom are paid R1500 a month for a 12 hour day. They have marched peacefully merely singing as they went. They put SAMWU to shame. Some of these women get up at 2am to be at work and return home after 20:00 - would you do that for R1500? Yet they have enough pride to work for peanuts and they have a right to be paid more.

      Spaffy - 2011-08-17 15:16

      Let them show SAMWU how to do it.

      vdwjasper - 2011-08-17 16:19

      Your friends have been lying to you. From last years wage and salary increase schedules of the local government bargaining council: "The minimum wage payable in the sector shall increase from R4,000.00 (Four thousand rand)per month to R 4,339.20 (Four thousand and three hundred and thirty nine rand and twenty cents, with effect from 1 July 2010." That is minimum wage." A municipal cleaner gets payed more than a rookie police officer.

  • carladasilva92 - 2011-08-17 15:34

    And people still wonder why there's racism in this country. Where have the days gone where u can settle things as human beings instead of acting like animals out of the wild

  • embargo - 2011-08-17 15:53

    I wonder about the impact on company's turnovers when these protestors block access to their properties? Who makes up those losses? Maybe it is time that street dancing for a wage increase, though good for their exercising, most probably the only exercise done considering the waistlines, should in future be retained for on or immediately in front of the emplyer's premises only? Why must it involve or affect the rest of the honest person/s seeking to be gainfully employed or simply travelling along that road?

  • Love4SA! - 2011-08-17 16:06

    It’s quite shocking how the South African government has not implemented a decent minimum wage for necessary services rendered by people from our society. They should be paid a salary that would allow them to live over the breadline! Their current pay hardly cuts it.

  • Anton - 2011-08-17 16:39

    You wanted to vote for the ANC, now suffer under your decision, for the umpteenth term!!!! And you'll probably vote for them again... sad.

  • umr.cleenwerck - 2011-08-17 16:42


  • Ricky - 2011-08-17 17:53

    What I cannot understand is that blacks still want more from whites, new white tax, BEE, AA, etc etc etc, but why dont they look to their leadership. To the general zuma and malema supporters: Dont you think its time zuma and malema gave up some of their insane wealth stolen from the tax payers (yes stolen, as the money is not being used for its true purpose) and give some to benfit the country? Or is it fine for them to be billionaires and only the 4 million whites to pay for the 40 million blacks???

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