NATIONAL NEWS - Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has raised his concerns after the Tshwane CBD was shut down due to municipal strike action.
In a statement released via social media, the minister urged bus drivers to respect the rights of other road users.
“The city is not only the administrative capital of the country, but also a critical economic hub. A shutdown of this nature not only undermines the rights of other road users to access their places of work or centres of economic activity, but has the potential to deal a severe blow to an economy which can ill afford disruptions. It must not be allowed to continue,” said Mbalula.
He concluded by calling for the law to take its course, stating: “Lawlessness must not prevail.”
South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane confirmed on Monday morning that the municipal workers were protesting about wage increases.
“It’s not only municipal bus drivers that are on strike, but general workers affiliated with Samwu are also demanding an 18% increase,” he said.
“We have spoken to the senior managers about the increase but it seems there’s not a way forward.”
He said the union would continue with their protest “and bring the city to a standstill”.
Speaking to Bongani Bingwa on the Monday morning edition of his 702 show, MMC for roads and transport Sheila Lynn Senkubuge confirmed that they knew the strike action was imminent and took the necessary measures to secure the buses in their fleet.
Despite this, some bus drivers gained access to the lot and were able to take out buses reports EWN.
She said this was tantamount to theft and could result in guilty parties losing their jobs.
“This is tantamount to theft of municipal property, people could now lose their jobs. We cannot stop workers from protesting and raising their concerns, you cannot be allowed to put every member of this city at a disadvantage because you want to raise grievances,” she said.