Sactwu deeply disturbed by looting
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AS civil unrest characterised by the violence, looting and razing of shops and malls has left a trail of destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) says it is deeply disturbed by the serious damage caused by the looting.
The Cosatu-affiliated union said it was deeply concerned about the serious damage that the recent looting in KZN and elsewhere had caused to workers and their families.
Sactwu general-secretary Andre Kriel said they were concerned at the looting and burning of factories and other workplaces.
“For example, in Isithebe (in Mandeni, on the KZN north coast) a brand new clothing factory (Kingspark Manufacturers) which was set up only in September last year, has been completely destroyed.
“Machinery and raw materials have been looted, and nothing remains. In the process, 600 much-needed jobs supporting 3000 family members in the poorest part of the country are now lost, in this instance alone,” Kriel said.
He said that in recent times the management and workers of Kingspark had been successfully participating in an innovative workplace productivity collaboration pilot project - to test and demonstrate the international best practice intervention by the International Labour Organisation's SCORE programme.
“All their hard collaborative work to grow the company and its jobs has now been undone, and the multiplier benefits to the broader industry lost. Similar incidences of looting and serious damage to domestic industrial infrastructure are being caused in other areas, such as in Mayville, Section 6 in Newcastle, and elsewhere,” Kriel said.
He added that the consequence was that thousands more jobs could now be permanently lost.
“We respect our citizens' constitutional right to peacefully protest. We also agree that there is a crisis of unemployment, inequality and poverty that must be solved.
“However, the current lootings, arson and other forms of damage is nothing but criminality, and is counter-productive to the solving of our problems,” Kriel said.
He said that it should not be accepted that while, together with the national government and employers, they had been working extremely hard to save and create local industrial jobs, the future sustainability of their efforts were being undermined by such horrific and unashamed criminal activity.
Kriel also called on the police and other law enforcement agencies to “clamp down hard” on such unacceptable violent conduct, adding that the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted with the full might of the law, without fear or favour.
“We call on all our members, other workers and all South Africans in general to condemn this criminal conduct, and to distance themselves from it.
“We extend our compassion to workers and their families, who are the innocent victims of this shame that has been bestowed on our industry and country,” Kriel said.