MyCiTi strikers released from Cape Town civic centre after tense police stand-off

2018-11-21 12:30

Striking MyCiTi workers have been released from the Cape Town civic centre, after the building was placed on lockdown when protests began on the ground floor.

The City of Cape Town's civic centre was locked down on Wednesday morning after a group of MyCiTi protesters entered the ground floor of the building.

MyCiTi employees have been striking for weeks over labour demands since October 15.

Five leaders were reportedly arrested inside the building.

Multiple stun grenades were let off in the area outside the entrance during a tense stand-off with police around 11:00, as more strikers came to join their colleagues locked in the building.

Strikers outside the civic centre threw stones at police in retaliation.

At around 12:10, the arrested leaders were released, with the wildcat protest continuing outside the building under calmer circumstances.

Following their release, the city said the situation was a lot calmer, with the civic centre only on partial lockdown.

"The protesters were former employees of the vehicle operating companies, who embarked on an illegal strike in October, and were subsequently dismissed by their employer. They are not city employees," spokesperson Jyothi Naidoo said.

Earlier on Wednesday, tweets and video on social media showed a group of protesters on the ground floor of the civic centre, surrounded by police.

One of the protest leaders, Johannes Gordon, claimed that they entered the building because the city's metro police said they would be assisted in speaking with new mayor Dan Plato.

He told News24 metro police and South African Police Service members surrounded them on the ground floor. All exits were blocked.

One of the companies that employs MyCiTi staff, Kidrogen, said it has had to sack 80 of the workers to mitigate the impact of the strike, EWN reported on Wednesday.

The 80 employees had not reported to work for five consecutive days during the unprotected strike, going against the company's disciplinary code of conduct.

*This story has been updated.

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