Cape Town - A Somali petrol attendant yesterday became the first casualty of the ongoing strike in the petrol and motor industry after he died in Groote Schuur Hospital as a result of a vicious attack, allegedly by striking workers.
Adeen Wadie, 55, died yesterday morning, hospital spokesman Alaric Jacobs confirmed last night.
He was attacked on Tuesday morning by several men at a petrol station in Grassy Park when he and a colleague were working.
They chased the two when they tried to flee, cornering Wadie at a shop near the service station, then allegedly viciously assaulting him.
The men are believed to be striking members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).
Last night Vuyo Lufele, Numsa provincial general secretary, said they were not aware of the death, but would immediately investigate the matter to determine whether union members were involved.
Lufele said he considered it shocking if it was indeed union members who were responsible.
“I cannot comment until we have done our own investigation, but we condemn any form of violence.”
The owner of the station, whose identity is known to Weekend Argus but did not want to be named for fear of further reprisals, said Wadie managed to walk back to the station, where he collapsed in one of the back rooms. “He looked like they had beaten him over the head several times, and there was blood running down from his face. I rushed him to a nearby doctor who treated him for about 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived.”
But Wadie never woke up.
The petrol station manager said Wadie had worked there for about seven years.
“He worked hard to support his family and his death is a great tragedy to all of us. He was killed because he wouldn’t strike,” the upset manager said.
Police said the charges would be changed to murder.
Several incidents of violence have been reported since unions began the national strike on Monday, but this is the first reported death or serious injury.
Union members have been on strike for the past week demanding higher wages, but negotiations are deadlocked. An offer of a 7.5 percent increase was turned down. - Weekend Argus