Cape Town - The Nation Union of Mineworkers has condemned the actions of about 1 000 of its Western Cape members who “hunted” down construction workers who went to work on Tuesday.
The NUM members participated in an illegal march through the Cape Town CBD on Tuesday and visited construction sites looking for workers who were not striking.
Lesiba Seshoka, NUM national spokesman, condemned their behaviour.
“We will not encourage people to hunt down those who choose to work. It is their right to choose whether to join the strike or continue to work.”
The strike began last week when about 90 000 NUM members went on strike after negotiations reached a deadlock.
On Tuesday strikers made their way through the CBD, brandishing sticks and sjamboks.
They started at a construction site behind the Media24 building on the Foreshore, then another site at the bottom of Bree Street before going to De Waterkant in Green Point.
Most of the workers at the construction sites hid inside the buildings. Some ran back inside the construction sites when they saw the protesters getting closer.
Seshoka said the strikers were demanding a 13 percent increase for this year and a 14 percent increase for next year, while employers were offering a 10 percent increase for the lowest paid workers, and 8 percent for higher earning workers coupled with an inflation-linked increase for next year.
The lowest paid workers earn about R4 400 a month.
The protesters were stopped from marching all the way to construction sites in Sea Point by a considerable police presence on Somerset Road.
The protesters made it back to Cape Town station without incident and got on trains to go to Century City to look for more people who had turned up for work.
But the Century City construction sites stood empty on Tuesday as they had been evacuated prior to the strike.
There were a lot of police officers at the Century City railway station to escort the protesters through the main street and back on to the train.
At 2pm the protesters said they were returning to Khayelitsha where most of them live.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said on Tuesday that they had opened an illegal gathering and intimidation docket against the protesters who had gathered in the CBD.