Move to prosecute violent striking workers

An unmarked refuse collection truck, which is escorted by a Metro police vehicle, picks up refuse bags in the Durban CBD on Sunday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

An unmarked refuse collection truck, which is escorted by a Metro police vehicle, picks up refuse bags in the Durban CBD on Sunday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 5, 2024


The provincial government has given the assurance that it is working to minimise the disruption to services in eThekwini Municipality while moving to prosecute those behind the incidents that have plunged the City into chaos.

eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube on Monday briefed the media on work being done to restore normality after service delivery was impacted by an ongoing municipal workers strike.

The pair announced a number of measures, including bringing in contractors to do work, using skeletal staff and giving police escorts to workers attending to faults to ensure their safety.

Workers led by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have been on an unprotected strike since last week.

“The violent nature of the strike has resulted in essential municipal services being severely impacted. Some employees are fearing for their lives after seeing their colleagues being attacked and infrastructure being vandalised,” the premier said.

Since last week, she said, the intimidation and continued attacks on non-striking employees have resulted in the City not being able to respond to faults or restore basic services such as water, refuse collection and electricity.

Access to primary healthcare services was hampered by the intimidation of health workers in municipal-run health facilities, putting the lives of ordinary citizens in danger, Dube-Ncube said.

“We have observed with great concern the attacks on City employees at service delivery sites. Some have been shot while attending to service delivery complaints. A number of water and sanitation facilities, electricity infrastructure including vehicles have been damaged or destroyed.

“We strongly condemn the cruel actions the illegal strike is inflicting on patients and ordinary citizens as seen in the blockage of access to state buildings, including clinics, potentially endangering the lives of innocent patients.

“The government will no longer tolerate the atmosphere of fear, trespassing on premises and forceful removal of staff from their work posts.”

She said that on Sunday she had convened a special meeting to brief the Cabinet about the state of eThekwini Municipality and resolutions taken by Ministers from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster.


♬ original sound - TheMercurySA

She said a number of measures had been taken as a result of these two meetings including that Metro Police and private security had been sourced to escort staff to service delivery points, including clearing of roads, electricity faults, water leaks, burst pipes and refuse removal.

Dube-Ncube said: “A team has been set up to analyse all video footage of the destruction of property, including abuse of state vehicles in the hands of municipality officials who participated in the illegal strike.

“The culprits are being identified and will be arrested soon.”

She said the eThekwini leadership will meet with Samwu leadership. Kaunda said it was hoped that the departments will stabilise by the end of the week.

Siyabonga Dladla, Samwu leader in Durban, said they will not be responding to the statements made at the briefing as they were engaging with the union’s provincial leadership.

The Mercury