Johannesburg - The group of shop stewards assembled outside the SA Municipal Workers Union’s (Samwu) building when a live round was fired two days ago are expelled leaders, says the union.
Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi also alleged that some of the bystanders, whose names were known to the union, had in fact never been union members.
“We condemn this ‘rent a crowd’ tactic which they have now employed in their quest to destabilise the union,” he said.
Theledi said sidelined members calling themselves Save Our Samwu had repeatedly attempted to invade the union offices, and that this was illegal.
“Our staff members are shaken and traumatised by these incidents. We are concerned for the safety of the union staff members who have now received threats.”
Those who claimed to act in Samwu’s interest were instead “destroying union property, threatening and preventing union staff from entering the union offices to do their jobs”.
“It is now clear that this group seeks to destabilise the union by ensuring that no work is done. How would the union be able to cater for the interests of the workers if the head offices are paralysed by the same people who claim to be ‘saving’ the union?” Theledi said.
“If saving is destroying union property and threatening staff, then they surely are a bunch of confused individuals who need to be evaluated mentally as a matter of urgency.”
He claimed union security had acted to protect the property from being vandalised and to prevent the group from entering the building and “minimise the damage they would have caused.
“People cannot come to the union offices throwing rocks, and when security responds, they claim assault. The union property has been damaged by these disgruntled people who continue to use the union name while they know very well that they are not members of the union.”
Theledi said the damage totalled thousands of rand.