21/06/2016. A bus and a truck torched in Atteridgeville as angry community members protested against the nomination of Thoko Didiza as the City of Tshwane's mayoral candidate. Hundreds of people have either been left stranded or prevented from leaving the township. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Rustenburg - Municipal workers trade unions in the City of Tshwane on Tuesday condemned the violence which has rocked the city this week.

The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in the Tshwane region said it had noted with concern the sporadic protest action within the City of Tshwane since the announcement by the African National Congress (ANC) that Thoko Didiza was its mayoral candidate.

“We have also seen the outbreak of violence in which some municipal officials were attacked and assaulted.

“A number of municipal buses and cars were torched and some municipal property destroyed. These violent protests, together with destruction of property, cannot be a solution to challenges faced by the community as a result of their displeasure on the identified name,” said Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane.

“Samwu, hereby condemns all forms of intimidation and violence directed at both Municipal workers and community members. We firmly believe that the ANC has created a number of platforms for both members and the community to engage as and when the situation dictates.”

He appealed to those not happy with the announcement of Didiza as mayoral candidate to engage the higher structures of the ANC.

“We further request that the community refrain from assaulting workers who have nothing to do with the situation.

“The Region appeals to all law enforcement agencies to act decisively and bring to book all those behind this shameless activities.”

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) said it strongly condemned the burning, destruction and vandalism taking place in Tshwane.

“While it is evident that a number of factors are contributing to growing frustration, all parties involved have a role to play in resolving this very serious situation. Affected communities must desist from destruction to state property and our government has a responsibility to engage with disgruntled members of the public and prevent further damage,” said general secretary Johan Koen.

“Corruption, poor service delivery, inequality, unemployment, skills shortages, wasteful expenditure and infrastructure theft are some of the contributing factors to the growing number of protests. Political unrest, leading up to the 2016 Local Government Elections on 3 August 2016, has presented as another causal dynamic.”

Violent protest flared up in Tshwane on Sunday, following the announcement that Didiza would be the mayoral candidate for Tshwane ahead of incumbent mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa for the August 3 local government elections.

Buses were torched in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, overnight and in Atteridgeville, west of the city, two trucks were torched and shops looted. The protests also spilled over to Hammanskraal and Ga-Rankuwa north of the city.

A lockdown was reported in the inner city by Tuesday afternoon as protesters moved to the centre of the city.

A Rustenburg resident working in Pretoria said violence had escalated to the Pretoria CBD and was spreading fast.

“Church, Bloed, Bosman, Thabo Sehume formerly Andries, Lilian Ngoyi formerly Van Der Walt and Paul Kruger streets are a no go zone. Please stay away from Sunnyside and Arcadia areas as riots are moving that way,” he said.

The N4 highway to Rustenburg was also affected as it was barricaded with burning tyres and mobs turned cars away.

Gauteng police, meanwhile, condemned the criminality involved during the protests held at various areas around Tshwane since Sunday.

Gauteng provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Deliwe De Lange said anyone found committing crime would be arrested immediately.

“Already cases of murder, malicious damage to property, intimidation have been opened.

“So far, the province has established a joint operation centre that will manage policing in these areas. The centre will consist of role players from all law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders. All police members including those who are on rest days have been mobilised and will assist with policing in these areas. These members will also include members from the divisions at head office.”

ANA