Durban - KwaZulu-Natal is second only to Gauteng for having the most acts of violence and intimidation as Numsa’s strike moves into its third day.
This was according to the Steel and Engineering Industry Federation of SA (Seifsa), in a statement on Thursday.
“Seifsa strongly condemns the violent behaviour of some of the employees currently on strike and calls on union leaders to rein their errant members…,” read the statement.
Seifsa chief executive officer, Kaizer Nyatsumba, said the federation was flooded with reports from its members of deliberate acts of lawlessness, including violence and general mayhem, by some of the workers on strike.
“We are extremely disappointed with the violent behaviour of some of union members who have embarked on a wanton campaign of damaging properties – including vehicles – of some of our member companies… This is what we wanted to avoid when we called on the unions to commit to a peace accord at the beginning of the negotiations,” said Nyatsumba.
Anand Sivansulam, human resources manager at Anchor Pail & Drum Reconditioners – a drum and plastic container recycling company – told the Daily News that he had written a letter of complaint to Numsa Durban offices, saying that an employee had been assaulted, allegedly by Numsa members, on Thursday.
He said a driver of one their trucks had been assaulted by the striking workers and claimed that they broke the front windscreen of their truck at Isipingo on Thursday morning.
The driver had gone for a delivery to Sancryl, a chemical manufacturing company at Isipingo, when he was allegedly attacked.
“Sadly, the truck has a damaged windscreen and our driver has been violently assaulted by members of the strike team outside the premises of Sancryl, despite our driver appealing to them that we do not belong to the metal industry,” read the letter sent to Numsa.
“They attacked him to such an extent that he has been referred to Prime Cure Hospital for treatment.”
In the letter, Sivansulam asked Numsa: “Is this normal? Is this fair that innocent people are attacked and compromised? Is this fair to intimidate innocent people?”
The 36-year-old driver, who asked not to be named, told the Daily News that when he and two of his assistants arrived at Sancryl gates, there were no striking members by the gate.
He said while waiting outside the company premises to enter, they suddenly saw about 30 to 40 men, with sticks, surround their truck.
“They didn’t even give a chance to talk to them and explain or ask what was going. They started attacking us,” he said.
He said the other two men he was with managed to escape and he was left alone.
“I managed to push the door, jumped out to save my life. They continued hitting us outside the truck. They hit us very hard with sticks and I managed to run into the company premises,” he said.
He said most of their attackers were wearing red T-shirts.
KZN Numsa regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane: “We don’t think whoever is being attacked must say it’s Numsa members unless he provides evidence.”
He said they were aware that “there is a project to discredit Numsa strike”. “All over the country it’s been said Numsa is testing its powers.
“That’s ridiculous and we are not trying to prove a point. We are happy with our members to continue with the strike for the right demands,” Ngubane said.