Trucker violence condemned

2012-09-27 16:35

Johannesburg - Violence and destruction caused by striking truck drivers in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, has been condemned.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday striking truck drivers who committed violence and broke the law would be acted against by law enforcement.

"We are monitoring the situation and frankly, what we have been observing is pure criminality," said Mthethwa in a statement.

He said acts of violence and intimidating innocent people could not be justified as part of public protests, and police intend to act harshly against such lawlessness, with arrests imminent.

About 20 000 workers in the road freight transport sector have been on strike over wages since Monday.

Unions have reverted to a 12% pay demand after rejecting a lower offer tabled by employers on Tuesday.

The Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA) had proposed a staggered increase of 8.5% effective from March, and a further 0.5% from September next year.

Avoid violence

The Congress of SA Trade Unions on Thursday urged strikers to avoid violence.

Spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement that while Cosatu fully supported striking unions, with Cosatu-alligned SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union included, it appealed to workers to not resort to violence, even when provoked.

The trade federation said it hoped employers would return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.

The Democratic Alliance condemned the violence linked to the road freight strike in Ekurhuleni on Thursday.

Gauteng leader John Moodey said in a statement the on-going violence was not acceptable, and strikers and union members needed to be held accountable for their actions.

The party called on the provincial safety and security MEC to take swift action before further damage was done.

"The safety of non-striking workers and the community at large is being placed at risk, and police need to ensure their protection," said Moodey.

Organisers face criminal charges

While the DA recognised the democratic right to strike, strikes could not be conducted in a violent and destructive manner.

Mthethwa said police did have a responsibility to police public protests and gatherings, but the Gatherings Act left much of the emphasis with convenors or organisers to ensure such events were conducted peacefully.

"Any contravention of this must result in the organisers facing criminal charges," Mthethwa said.

He said allocating police resources for public protests and demonstrations was redirecting focus away from priority crimes such as murder and sexual offences.

"That is where all our energies must be directed at," said the minister.

Satawu spokesperson Vincent Masoga said: "We are hoping the employers will come back today [Thursday], otherwise we will continue the strike."

RFEA spokesperson Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said: "We have committed ourselves to being available for further talks. Nothing has been forthcoming thus far and we shall see where we go."

The RFEA was hopeful that between Thursday and Friday, the negotiation process would resume, she said.

The unions involved are Satawu, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA, the Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA, and the Motor Transport Workers' Union.

  • typersa.baddy - 2012-09-27 16:39

    Just shoot em!!!

      john.smit.121772 - 2012-09-27 19:45

      What is the problem? If a strike is unlawfull or violent, no negotiation and no increase. Let them go unemployed. It is the quickest way to civilise barbarics.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-09-27 16:50

    Arrest the thugs. It was seen on TV, in the media, and well were they arrested - no way - they just walk to cause more trouble another day. Or is this just rent a riot getting out of hand.

      godfrey.welman - 2012-09-27 17:01

      Govt. don't have the b@lls to arrest them as these strikers are Cosatu members. They walked openly with knopkierries and stones yet nothing happened.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-09-27 17:04

    Seen it before, been there, got the T-shirt, the badge and the scars............ The utter revulsion felt for these sub-human plunderers who burn other people's property, and intimidate poor people who just want to do their job, makes me physically ill. We are now back where we were 36 years ago........

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-09-27 17:05

    Are the municipal workers going on strike on the 5th October? I bet they are itching to join the fray...

  • gembleton1 - 2012-09-27 17:07

    and the rest of the world looks at this, these hooligens should be fired by the companys they work for this is a disgrase , all the unions should be charged and they should then prove to us the public of SA that there members were not involved.

  • gembleton1 - 2012-09-27 17:09

    The cops were there, why were these thugs not arrested there and then,the Unions always claim that it is not there members.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-27 17:39

    Why has it taken so long for unioin fat cats and the Road Freight Employers association to come to the table, which as of yet is still not happening, this nonsense has been going on since the start of June. This should also be condemned, this strike was totally avoidable, now it is racing out of control. I think the drivers should fire their unions and start their own association, and should take a days paid leave after a settlement is finally reached for every day that the employers and useless union leaders have not sat down to negotiate since the start of Strike (Maybe even some leave pay bonus for their incompetence since the start of June)

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-09-27 18:27

    Arrest those that commit violence and jail them for assault with intent to cause grievous harm,at least 10 years for each of them!

  • tim.rolston.9 - 2012-09-27 20:18

    "What we have been observing is pure criminality"... so if you are observing it, it is pure criminality, it is on television, your officers are on the scene, WTF don't you arrest these people? Violence and destruction of propery have become the norm when it comes to strikes. Everyone has the right to strike, but that doesn't include criminal damage and violence. So why don't the police stop making excuses and do the job they are paid for. Not really very bloody complicated is it?

  • Tim Elliott - 2012-09-27 20:28

    Vavi stands on whatever soapbox he can find to rant and rave about whatever gets under his skin.BUT when his Union members trash and kill he and Cosatu leadership are silent.They just don't get the ACCOUNTABILITY thing which is a festering wound in the psyche of the TRIPE Alliance.Shame on the whole f...g lot of you!

  • Tim Elliott - 2012-09-27 20:34

    Mthetwa speaks & speaks & any normal country he would have beem fired!He has as much credibility as a lone hobbit trying to justify why he lives up a rats arse!S..t!

  • Tim Elliott - 2012-09-27 20:34

    Mthetwa speaks & speaks & any normal country he would have beem fired!He has as much credibility as a lone hobbit trying to justify why he lives up a rats arse!S..t!

  • Mike Peach Purchase - 2012-09-28 09:31

    Hehehe stop the rot then you wont have to condemn it,you been watching too many american movies,the cops always get there after the hero has sorted the villians out,damn joke of a person you.

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