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Pretoria – The town of Tshwane has informed residents of the disruption of some services following the “prolonged, illegal and unprotected” protest action by employees affiliated with the South African Union of Municipal Workers (SAMWU).
Tshwane city spokesman Selby Bokaba said protests continued to rock the South African capital despite Tshwane being granted a ban by the Johannesburg labor court last week, saying illegal and unprotected strike action.
“The following services are discontinued: the Tshwane bus service; Re Yeng bus service; bulk waste collection to CBD businesses; The Rosslyn depot was blocked and Lyttleton’s office in Centurion was forcibly closed, ”Bokaba said.
“Some employees have been intimidated while others have been violently sacked at the Wonderboom Electricity depot. The Akasia Driver’s License Examination Center (DLTC) has closed its doors after staff members were intimidated and coerced into joining the strike by fellow protesters.
Although other services were not severely affected by the strike, Tshwane Town said it was likely, however, that the turnaround time for service outages involving electricity, water and sanitation is affected.
“The city is busy quantifying the damages and costs incurred as a result of the illegal strike and will bill SAMWU for unnecessary costs incurred as a result of this illegal strike,” Bokaba said.
“Tshwane apologizes profusely for the inconvenience caused and pleads for the resident’s patience during this time of disruption to essential services.”
Several streets in Pretoria’s central business district have been heavily littered with traffic jams as motorists and pedestrians maneuver around the piles of rubbish strewn in the streets. The protest continued despite assurances this week from Samwu’s deputy secretary Dumisani Magagula that the workers were not on strike.
In a TV interview, Magagula said, “There is no strike in Tshwane and we do not accept that it is the Samwu members who are intimidating anyone to go to work or provide services.
He said that “the municipality’s failure to implement the wage increase” had aroused discontent among workers in Tshwane town.
The increase was part of the deal signed last month between the parties to the negotiating board.
“Unfortunately, the workers went to try to get the municipality to resolve them on its failure and how the municipality is going to remedy it before even taking legal action against the municipality,” Magagula said.
In a media statement, Tshwane said he would “take a tough stance” against anyone who violates the court order.
“The city is basing its hopes on the police to maintain public order and enforce the order of the provisional court,” he said.
Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane said workers wanted the city to respond to their demands ahead of local elections.
He denied that Samwu was leading the ANC’s political battles as mayor and mayoral candidate DA Randall Williams claim.
ANC spokesman in Tshwane, Bafuze Yabo, told Pretoria News that Samwu does not fight ANC battles.