Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has denied an allegation that its members in Cape Town attacked construction workers not participating in the construction sector strike.
The NUM investigated the claim and found that the perpetrators were not part of the union, said spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
“I have heard about that incident, but who says that those people are our members? Those unruly elements are not ours. We investigated this thoroughly and we have found that those people are not NUM members,” he said.
The City of Cape Town reported that around 50 people, dressed in NUM T-shirts and carrying its flags, stormed into a construction camp in Heideveld on Monday.
In a statement, mayoral committee member Tandeka Gqada claimed that armed NUM members destroyed property and threatened workers.
“Some of the project's contractor staff were assaulted and three sustained fairly serious injuries. Several construction vehicles and a delivery truck were damaged by the protesters,” said Gqada.
“The injured staff were taken to the Heideveld Day Hospital for treatment, and all staff were immediately withdrawn from the site until the situation stabilises.”
Seshoka distanced the union from the incident.
“Wearing an NUM T-shirt does not make you an NUM member,” he said.
“Membership cards are what makes people members, and remember that NUM is not the only union that wears red T-shirts,” he said.
Gqada said the city would not tolerate incidents such as this. It wanted those responsible for the attack to be held accountable.
Seshoka said the strike in the construction sector was still underway.
“The strike is continuing. It is going very well. It is going very smoothly. There are no disruptions,” he said.
The NUM and the Building, Construction and Allied Workers' Union (BCAWU) have been on strike since August 26.
They are demanding a minimum salary structure, a 13 percent wage increase for 2013, and a 14 percent increase for 2014.
On Tuesday, BCAWU accepted a 10 percent wage offer from the SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Seftec).
General secretary Narius Moloto said Seftec's offer was a 10 percent pay rise in task grades one to four, and an eight percent increase in task grades five to nine.
The NUM was sticking to its demand. - Sapa