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Durban - A non-striking petrol attendant who was attacked after finishing the night shift at a New Germany petrol station on Tuesday, and who suffered severe head injuries, remained unconscious in the RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth on Tuesday night.
He is believed to be the first KwaZulu-Natal victim of the nationwide motor industry strike.
According to ER24 spokeswoman Vanessa Jackson, the 26-year-old was working in casual clothes to disguise himself from the striking workers.
She said paramedics were called to the scene to attend to the seriously injured man.
Police spokesman Jay Naicker said the attendant had just finished his shift and was on his way home when four men accosted him, hitting him on the head.
Kamla Chetty, a spokeswoman for RK Khan Hospital, said that when they had tried to speak to the attendant, he had not been “in a state to remember anything.”
“He is under doctors’ care and will possibly be fine in a day or two,” she added.
The garage owner said he did not know if the beating was connected to the strike.
“I will not point fingers at anyone,” he said.
“The guy might have owed someone money or had a fight somewhere, so I cannot say it’s the striking workers, but he was injured,” he added.
The owner said his staff were being intimidated and chased from work, but there had been no violence.
Numsa’s Petros Ngcobo said they had not received a complaint of violence from any of the union’s conveners who were overseeing pickets.
The Fuel Retailers’ Association chief executive, Reggie Sibiya, said they had received more than 150 reports of intimidation and violence from around the country since the strike started last week.
Sibiya said that talks aimed at resolving the strike collapsed on Monday night when Numsa rejected the revised offer of a wage increase of 7.5 percent.
Sibiya said the interdict prevented striking workers from:
* Stopping non-striking employees from reporting for work.
* Carrying or displaying any weapon including sticks and knobkerries.
* Approaching, intimidating or threatening to assault customers or non-striking staff or replacement staff.
* Damaging the property of an employer.
* Obstructing access to and exits at an employer’s premises.
Negotiations resume on Thursday.