NATIONAL NEWS - The Tshwane metro announced on Monday that it had obtained a court interdict against protesting workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
Protesters recently took to the streets, burning rubbish bins and vandalising the Tshwane house demanding wage increments.
The metro’s spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the protest was having a devastating impact on service delivery across all the seven regions in the municipality.
“Provision of services in various regions in respect of water and sanitation, energy and electricity and re-gravelling of the roads have been severely affected,” he said.
“Other services severely impacted by the strike include the suspension of the bus services, closure of some of the customer care walk-in centres and a clinic.”
Bokaba said workers that reported for duty in certain regions have been physically threatened and their offices forcefully closed by the striking workers.
“Management has conceded to one of the workers’ demands of the payment of the annual wage increment, which would be paid on Wednesday, 29 July,” he said.
“The leadership of the municipality has made it abundantly clear to the labour union representatives that the City’s finances were in dire straits and thus cannot afford to pay the workers their outstanding benchmarking monies at this juncture.”
The court order granted by the labour court compelled protesters to immediately cease and desist from blocking or interfering with the traffic flow in the Pretoria CBD, without proper authority being obtained for a protest march.
It also compelled them to stop damaging any property of the metro, residents, or business owners in the City; as well as threatening, manhandling or assaulting any employee or contractor of the metro.
Tshwane administrator Mpho Nawa urged striking workers to comply with the order of the court and pleaded with the parties to return to the negotiation table.
“We witnessed the destruction of property since last week in the CBD. This has now escalated to threats and intimidation of non-striking workers in various regions,” he said.
“Some of the striking workers have gone to the extent of switching off the lights at one of the City’s clinics which is providing a critical service during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is totally unacceptable. Workers have a right to protest peacefully and not to threaten, intimidate or destroy property. We hope the court order will be complied with and workers would return to work and provide the much-needed services to our communities,” he said.
“We humbly apologise to our communities for the inconvenience they have endured due to the strike,” Nawa said.