Bus drivers and other staff employed by the MyCiTi bus operating companies embarked on an illegal strike at the Civic Centre for a third day on Wednesday. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

The illegal MyCiTi strike at the Civic Centre is expected to enter its fourth day on Thursday, with workers insisting they want to be in-sourced by the City of Cape Town. 

Hopes rest on National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) regional secretary Vuyo Lufele's meeting with Mayco member for transport Brett Herron at 9am tomorrow on their members' behalf. 

Lufele told the Cape Times on Wednesday: "I went to the workers today to address them. They said they are not moving and are prepared to strike until their issues are addressed.

"They said they are prepared to lose their jobs due to the environment and conditions they have to work under. They want to be in-sourced and fall under the City of Cape Town.

"We were not able today to get hold of the person responsible for transport at the City of Cape Town, Brett Herron. But I have now secured a meeting with him at 9 tomorrow morning. 

"We will know where we stand after that meeting with him. They believe they will get much better benefits and conditions of service working for the City."

When asked whether the workers were aware that the strike affected, among others, pupils writing their matric exams, who would not be allowed in the exam room if they were an hour late, Lufele said: "Eish, that's the challenge. They are focusing on their issues to be attended to. I don't think they looked at issues of exams and so on.

"This was not a planned strike. I was supposed to be in Joburg until today but I left yesterday because I really take this matter seriously."

Around 250 employees, including drivers and cleaners, embarked on the wildcat strike on Monday, which resulted in the suspension of certain MyCiTi bus routes. Lufele said about 150 workers were still striking on Wednesday, with bus drivers at one stage also using their vehicles to barricade roads around the Civic Centre and the CBD.

"They were blocking one side of the road but moved to a proper place when I arrived," Lufele said of the striking workers.

Despite their insistence on meeting Herron, he has yet to speak to the striking workers and believes their protest has become politically driven with the EFF's involvement.

On Tuesday, Herron had urged vehicle operating companies (VOCs) and their staff to settle the matter as soon as possible and to engage through the appropriate channels so that the MyCiTi service can resume normal operations.

Herron said the City has long-term contracts with the VOCs to operate the MyCiTi bus routes across Cape Town.

“I have never shied away from meeting with anyone, and am happy to engage, but there is a lot that is unclear. If they said to me I could meet with their nominated leader, then I will do so,” Herron said.

The Cape Argus reported that one of the VOCs issued an ultimatum to striking employees, warning them about possible legal action.

The letter said "the Company reserves their right for an urgent court interdict in order to bring an end to the illegal industrial action. Failure to comply with this last ultimatum can lead to your dismissal".

On Wednesday, the following MyCiTi routes were operational: T03, T02, X02, D01, D02, D03, D04, 101, 102, 103, 105, 114, 107, 110, 215, 231, 232, 233, 234, 236 and 237.