DA condemns Samwu's 'violent' action

2011-08-16 21:14

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has condemned "the violent and destructive protest action" by striking SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members on the streets of Cape Town, Johannesburg and elsewhere.

"This malicious damage to property adds renewed urgency to the DA's private member's bill that seeks to hold unions liable for the damage their members cause," the party said on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow [Wednesday], at the meeting of the private member's legislative proposal committee, the DA will ask why it has taken so long for the committee to discuss the legislation we submitted in March. We will ensure that it receives top priority."

The countrywide strike by Samwu began on Monday. The union has demanded an 18% pay increase while the SA Local Government Association has offered 6%.


The DA said it supported and recognised the constitutional right to strike, but deplored the violence, intimidation and destruction of private and state-owned property that had become a common feature of industrial action.

"Not surprisingly, Cosatu [Congress of SA Trade Unions] has rubbished the DA's private member's bill, with its General-Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, stating that he would personally make sure that the bill is kept out of Parliament on the grounds that it would bankrupt the unions.

"We say that if Mr Vavi wants to protect the finances of his unions, he should do something to stop his members from trashing our cities."

The DA added that its private member's bill would propose that the unions be forced to take pro-active steps to prevent their members from engaging in violence; that courts be empowered to stop a strike that had become excessively violent by forcing the parties into arbitration; and that courts be empowered to award punitive damages against unions whose members had committed violence, injured innocent parties or damaged property in the course of industrial action.

"The DA will continue to ensure that the democratic right to strike is exercised responsibly and will not shy away from holding the unions to account for the behaviour of their members.

Windows smashed

Earlier, Sapa reported that municipal workers had looted from vendors, set plastic bins on fire and smashed the windows of vehicles as they protested for higher salaries in the Cape Town city centre.

"Shortly after 14:00 the city's main shopping avenue, Adderley Street, was covered with litter and burned-out bins.

"A number of vendors who sell goods such as cosmetics, coffee, wallets and belts on the pavements of the street were unpacking goods they had tried to hide as the workers approached."

Sapa added that shops on the street locked their doors as the workers, who were seen smashing the windows of vehicles, approached.

Parliament, near the top end of Adderley Street, was also cordoned off by the police.

Thirteen protesters were arrested. They would be charged with public violence, police said.

  • R.Suppards - 2011-08-16 21:31

    Prosecute the thirteen arrested, and seek FULL restitution for all losses and damage caused by the mob. Then let SAMWU dig into their coffers to cover the cost. No restitution, jail time for the arrested.

  • vtowntekkie - 2011-08-16 21:39

    Just a lot of J.A.C.K.'S!

  • Johan - 2011-08-16 21:49

    "If we will not be governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants." William Penn, 1-3-1701

      Bontage - 2011-08-16 22:19

      Because under God's loving tyra- rule, we will all live perfect and happy lives...unless you're gay, use condoms, opposed to religious violence, question authority or are just not a Christian, in which case you're pretty much boned.

      Noname - 2011-08-17 05:38

      Did you ever read Genessis first book of Bible, your God is most blood thirsty creature you can imagine. "Do not think I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.For I have come to set man against his father and a daughter against her mather and a daughter in law against her mather in law and man's foes will be thouse of his own household. (MT 10:34)"

  • R.Suppards - 2011-08-16 21:55

    Where is Tony Ehrenreich? Big Mouth very quiet on his Comrade's activities. Is this the redistribution of wealth his mate Malema proposes, rob the poorest to re-distribute to the employed? COME ON TONY, WE WOULD APPRECIATE A STATEMENT. WHICH EVER WAY YOU JUMP,YOU ARE STUFFED!!! If you condemn the striker's behaviour, your Unionist mates will abandon you, if approve of the striker's behaviour, all thinking people will abandon you. The choice is yours. GOODBYE TONY.

  • buzz2b - 2011-08-16 21:55

    Should the UK be issuing a travel advisory to South Africa?

  • An0nThoughts - 2011-08-16 22:08

    to little to late. Property already got destroyed. Along with people's car windows smashed, vendors got looted and assaulted. Disgusting behavior!!

  • Born To Fish - 2011-08-16 22:32

    Why condemn them? It is never the striking union!

  • John D - 2011-08-17 02:53

    Refuse collection in SA is currently done by a truck and 5 or 6 hangers on.In Australia every household has a wheelie bin and collection is done by just a driver and a truck with a mechanical arm that empties the wheelie bins into the back of the truck, it clears the bins in a street in 5 minutes and is highly efficient. Workers need to understand that technology is available to replace them at a fraction of the cost and they should look after their jobs and not behave like idiots. If the municipalities decide do their bit towards unemployment and keep the labour intensive collection process, they definitely must pay the workers a living wage but they dont need to be held to ransom by the unions as there are alternatives.

  • AntiRacist - 2011-08-17 07:42

    I dont see the DA doing anything other than mud slinging, I will never vote for them again, Why was this allowed to happen in DA town? where was the reserve cops? why did it go on so long, see not even the DA and its big mouth can protect us and our belongings, DA= empty promises but you will get service delivery coz you pay for it!

  • J_Mason - 2011-08-17 09:32

    Shortly after the strike, I was knocked over by one of the strikers in Adderly street. He was so drunk that his mates had to carry him over the road (I took a picture on my phone). They were all wearing their City uniforms so def not "rogue elements". Its hard to feel any sympathy for their cause if this is how they behave. I fully support this Bill.

  • pages:
  • 1