Workers vow to keep fighting after mayor attacked with knobkierie

2016-03-23 11:09
Mayor Ewald Loock (Photo supplied)

Mayor Ewald Loock (Photo supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

East London - Striking workers in a small Eastern Cape municipality, where the mayor was attacked during a protest last week, have vowed to continue their strike until their grievances are addressed, GroundUp reports.

Baviaans Mayor Ewald Loock was beaten with a knobkierie on Friday when workers forced their way into his office.

Workers affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in Willowmore went on strike in January demanding better working conditions, protective clothing, and a salary increase before their municipality merges with the Ikwezi (Jansenville) and Camdeboo (Graaff-Reinet) municipalities.

Samwu provincial secretary Milton Myola said workers' demands were not being given priority.

People who had been casual workers for years wanted to be employed full time and demanded protective clothing.

Workers forced way into office

Baviaans Samwu leader Gerhard Davids said the strike would continue until the issues raised had been addressed.

Loock was injured when workers forced their way into his office.

"There was a group of rowdy, striking workers accompanied by their family members. They forced their way into the mayor's office and damaged property.

“I tried to address them and prevent them from attacking my staff. One of the strikers held up my hand and I was hit with a knobkierie on the head. I passed out," he said.

Loock received six stitches at the local clinic and later went to Oudtshoorn hospital.

"Workers and their family members are angry at the municipality because they have not been paid since January. They know that payday is this week and because of the no work no pay system, they will obviously not get their salaries.”

‘Attack the work of criminals’

The Baviaans municipality is the only one in the Eastern Cape run by the Democratic Alliance. DA constituency leader Malcolm Figgs condemned the “vicious and ugly assault on the mayor”.

The ANC issued a statement in which it condemned the attack and called for “a mature way of handling disagreements" between Baviaans municipal management and workers.

“We strongly condemn the beating of the mayor and we further state that violence will not benefit anyone as it widens divisions."

Samwu's Milton Myola said the attack was the work of criminals.

“We do not have criminals in our workforce," he said.

Police spokesperson Major Ernest Sigobe said a 47-year-old man was arrested and would appear in court soon.

Read more on:    da  |  samwu  |  east london  |  service delivery  |  labour

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.