Strike turns area into ghost town

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Copy of st sec NumsaVENDOR Independent Newspapers. Business unusual: Nthabiseng Mofokeng patiently waits for customers at her mobile kiosk which she operates in the steel manufacturing section of Alrode in Alberton. Picture: Antoine de Ras.

Johannesburg - Pointing to the small pots on the boil, Nthabiseng Mofokeng said those represented what the latest strike to hit the country was doing to her small business.

As she was busy setting up her mobile café for the day’s trade in the industrial area of Alrode in Alberton, Mofokeng said she hated it when industrial action hit the steel sector.

“I depend entirely on this, I’m a widow.”

Alrode mostly resembled a ghost town yesterday morning, with steel-manufacturing companies shut because of the Numsa strike. Gates were locked, shutters were pulled down and the roads were quiet, apart from a handful of trucks that occasionally drove through the area.

Mofokeng said the effect of the strike on her business was represented by the equipment she was using yesterday.

Normally, she uses several mass-catering cooking pots, but she has now brought in only three residential kitchen-sized ones to cook her stew and beans to sell.

She relies on her catering business to pay for the education of her five children, aged between 9 and 22.

The mother said she hoped the strike would be quickly resolved so that she can get back to feeding workers in the area. “I don’t know how we’re going to survive,” she said.

Just across the road was a sign that strikers had been there before she arrived to set up.

A large tree branch was almost torn from the trunk and rested precariously on the perimeter wall of one steel manufacturer.

A security guard nearby said it was pulled down by strikers early yesterday and that the smaller branches were pulled off it and waved in the air by the men.

“Anyone who comes to work they can kill,” he said, adding that the men did not intimidate him because they recognised that he was not involved.

One of the few employees who did go to work yesterday said the Numsa strike was a “double hit” following the five-month platinum belt strike because they manufacture steel structures for the mines.

“We’ve worked three days in the last four months,” he lamented. - The Star

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