Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Striking MyCiTi workers have been released after the Civic Centre was placed on lockdown when protests began on the ground floor on Wednesday morning.

Five leaders were reportedly arrested inside the building but were later released, News24 reported. 

Multiple stun grenades were let off in the area outside the entrance during a stand-off with police around 11am as more strikers came to join their colleagues locked in the building. Strikers outside the Civic Centre threw stones at police in retaliation.

At around noon, the arrested leaders were released, with the wildcat protest continuing outside the building under calmer circumstances.

One of the protest leaders, Johannes Gordon, claimed that they entered the building because the City's metro police said they would be assisted in speaking to new Mayor Dan Plato.

The Cape Times reported on Tuesday that MyCiTi bus operating company Kidrogen axed 40% of its employees on Friday who were part of the unprotected strike following their failure to attend disciplinary hearings.

Hundreds of employees who demanded better working conditions and wanted to be directly employed by the City downed tools over a month ago.

The strike turned violent, with the strikers allegedly intimidating their non-striking colleagues and torching buses.

Kidrogen gave striking employees an ultimatum that should they continue to not report for work, they would be fired. A number of employees returned to work, while the rest did not.