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Cape Town - Petrol attendant Musa Wadie spent the weekend in mourning after his father, who worked at the same garage in Grassy Park, died following an attack allegedly linked to the ongoing strike.
Wadie’s father, Adeen Wadie, 55, was beaten by several people while on duty at a petrol station in 5th Avenue in Grassy Park on Tuesday morning, according to a colleague, Ismail Bwanali. He was taken to Tygerberg Hospital with a severe head injury, where he died on Friday.
His father, a Malawian national who worked at the station for nearly seven years, was the first known attendant killed during the strike, which enters its second week on Monday.
“When we called his wife (in Malawi) she just started crying. It’s a big loss,” said Wadie on Sunday.
National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) warned that if negotiations failed at a meeting in Johannesburg on Monday, the union would rally non-striking workers to join the strike.
Numsa is demanding a double-digit across the board increase, a R6 000 minimum wage in 2016 and a nightshift allowance. Management has offered between 7 and 7.5 percent across the board.
Several incidents of violence and intimidation have been reported and dozens of petrol stations countrywide have closed.
While the garage where the Wadies worked was closed and abandoned on Sunday, relatives and colleagues - including Bwanali, who was with Adeen Wadie soon after the attack - gathered outside the Wadie home in Grassy Park to pay their respects after the burial on Saturday.
The father was a breadwinner for most of his seven children. “He sent money to his wife in Malawi for the children there, and to my grand-mother,” his son said.
Wadie, 26, the oldest child, said he would now be responsible for helping his siblings financially. I will have to help pay for my sister (who is) in matric. My father’s youngest child is five, so they still need to go to school.
“We couldn’t have the funeral in Malawi because we just didn’t have the money and we didn’t know how long the strike is going to last.”
Numsa said it was investigating if any members were involved in the attack.
Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said a case of murder has been opened.
A number of other garages in surrounding areas on Sunday were closed, while others operated with casual workers.
The night supervisor at a garage in Military Road in Steenberg, Gasant Ismail, said they were forced to hire casual workers as their station has been under attack.
“On Friday night, a group of about 20 guys carrying sticks and sjamboks showed up and told us to stop working. The four of us who were at the pumps just left everything and started running. They managed to catch one of the guys, hit him and stole his pump tag,” he said.
Another garage manager in the area, who asked not to be named, has enlisted four of her family members to help run the station as her workers have been intimidated since Tuesday to not enter the premises.
Retail Motor Industry (RMI) spokesman Jakkie Olivier said the employers will apply for an interdict at the Labour Court this week to prevent striking workers from intimidating those who are not on strike.
“Some petrol stations have been forced to employ scab labour. The intimidation and violence has also seen a decrease in the number of employees turning up for work,” he said.
RMI is offering 7.5 percent increases.
Numsa provincial secretary Vuyo Lefile said its members are expected to take to the streets in Bellville and picket at the entrances of employers on Monday.
“The employers must meet our demands by this week or face an intensified strike,” Lefile said.
He said workers have indicated that they can go without a salary for the next three weeks, “because they will be rewarded”.
Petrol attendants, car spare part dealers and panelbeaters downed tools a week ago.
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