Rubbish strewn on streets of Pretoria as municipal workers' strike continues

2019-07-31 14:21
Samwu members picket on the streets of Pretoria as wage negotiations are underway.

Samwu members picket on the streets of Pretoria as wage negotiations are underway. (Sesona Ngqakamba)

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There was an increased police presence outside the City of Tshwane headquarters, Tshwane House, on Wednesday as the municipal workers' strike entered its third day. 

About two police Nyalas and around 20 officers from the SA Police Service and Tshwane Metro Police Department were stationed outside the offices and hundreds of disgruntled employees were camped outside. 

At least 40 municipal buses used to block roads for two days were recovered by the City on Tuesday evening, MMC for Roads and Transport Sheila Senkubuge said.

Senkubuge said the buses were recovered through the joint efforts of the SA Police Service, Tshwane Metro Police Department, Johannesburg Metro Police Department and taxi industry in the greater Tshwane region. Senkubuge said the City registered a police case because the buses were taken without authorisation on Monday morning.

"The Constitution of the republic guarantees the right to protest and freedom of expression. However, we have to condemn in the strongest terms possible, the chaos that erupted in the capital over the past two days in the name of protest. Law enforcement authorities are pursuing the matter with a view to bring the perpetrators of this unrest to book," said Senkubuge.

On Wednesday, only Lillian Ngoyi and Madiba streets, where five trucks belonging to the City were parked, remained a no-go zone. This led the metro to divert traffic.

The workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) are demanding an 18% pay increase, backdated to 2017. They claim that the increase was given to group managers and executive directors in the City's administration. 

While negotiations were under way at the bargaining council in Centurion, workers marched through the she streets which led businesses to close. The group also forced a waste truck to dump waste in the middle of Stanza Bopape Street. 

Senkubuge apologised to Tshwane residents and those who were affected by the strike, adding that the City was working to ensure that such a situation never happens again.

"We are confident that we will reach a solution with the unions. This would be in the best interests of the City, the employees and residents who have been greatly inconvenienced by the illegal protests. We call for calm and restraint and for all parties to give the negotiations a chance to proceed," Senkubuge said.

Operations in the capital remain suspended until the impasse is resolved.

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Read more on:    tshwane  |  pretoria  |  protests
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