Ofentse Madzebatela, City of Tshwane MMC for Human Settlements has condemned the attack on the driver of a water tanker truck and the torching of a truck in Pretoria CBD on Wednesday by striking municipal workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
Madzebatela said that it is now clear that the city is no longer dealing with an illegal strike action, but a well-coordinated criminal attack on their infrastructure.
Madzebatela urged urged law enforcement agencies “to act with haste and bring these criminals to book”.
The driver was ambushed as he was making his way out of the Prince’s Park Depot to Region 4, where the delivery of much-needed water was supposed to be made, but was physically assaulted on his way out. The driver managed to escape without sustaining any serious injuries.
The water tanker serves the vulnerable residents of Olievenhoutbosch informal settlements in Region 4, who will now remain without water because of this criminality.
A bakkie belonging to the city was also torched at the same precinct as the truck, and two members sustained injuries and needed medical attention.
Due to the violent nature of the unprotected strike, the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) usually escorts water tankers when they do their rounds throughout Tshwane, but this time the TMPD was delayed in arriving, and the driver drove out on his own at the time of the attack.
A criminal case has been opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS) following the attack.
The incident comes following an attack on two refuse trucks that were recently set alight, allegedly by striking workers, while a municipal employee was attacked after reporting for duty.
Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink has also pleaded with Police Minister Bheki Cele to send extra cops as attacks on the city’s infrastructure and personnel continue, saying the strike had been “hijacked”.
"We are not dealing with labour disputes, it is organised crime. There are economic and political interests which I believe have hijacked this unprotected strike, and workers are being used as pieces in a bigger political and economic chessboard, so what is very important is that we get SAPS, crime intelligence, as well as public order policing to safeguard the capital because, as I warned weeks ago, this is going to spiral out of control, and we do need South African police at a national level to attend to the situation," said Brink.