Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)

PORT ELIZABETH - The ANC in the Eastern Cape said on Tuesday it was gravely concerned about the ongoing labour dispute between workers of the Amathole District Municipality and municipal management, which had turned violent at times and led to taps running dry.

The Mnquma and Raymond Mhlaba local municipalities were also affected by the strike.. 

In a statement the ANC said it supported and recognised workers' constitutional right to strike, but deplored the violence, intimidation and destruction of private and state-owned property which has become a common feature of industrial action.

“The lack of leadership in the District has prolonged the toxic relationship between municipal workers and officials. This has resulted in continuous strikes and massive infrastructure sabotage. “

The ANC said it strongly condemned criminal activities, violence, damage to municipal, public and private properties and intimidation associated with the strike.

“Our ANC PEC deployees with Amathole REC leadership have been working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the impasse is resolved as soon as possible.We are also quite happy that a package deal to end the strike has been offered to workers,” a statement read. 

The ANC urged the Amathole District Municipality management and political leadership to commit themselves to more effective communication moving forward.

“In dealing with water outages in the affected municipalities, we request National government to implement short - term to medium term interventions which must include the deployment of technical teams, consisting of engineers, technicians and other artisans to assess systems in the problem areas and attend to these urgently to restore the water supplies."

The ANC called on national government to inject more funding to deal with issues of infrastructure refurbishment, operation and maintenance to ensure that water supply interruptions do not recur.

The ANC further appealed to community members to allow the party space and time to deal with the process.

“We appeal to our communities to desist from any violent activities and to allow our children who are supposed to be at school to attend classes.”

African News Agency (ANA)