Growing calls for Tshwane municipal strike to end; bus services to resume

A file picture of Tshwane municipal workers protesting in the Pretoria CBD. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of Tshwane municipal workers protesting in the Pretoria CBD. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 11, 2023


Pretoria - AfriForum has joined scores of voices calling for an end to the City of Tshwane workers’ strike action that is in its seventh week.

Employees affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have downed tools to demand a pay increase.

The City refused to budget any pay increase for employees when it was tabling its budget in April.

The metro has applied for an exemption from the proposed pay increases at the local government’s collective bargaining council with a judgment pending from senior commissioner Eleanor Hambidge.

Recently the Congress of the People (Cope) called on the Public Protector and the SA Human Rights Commission to intervene between the City and the striking workers.

Samwu has also called for an end to the protest while the DA has threatened legal action if the strike did not end.

AfriForum has now written to Police Minister Bheki Cele and the national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola to stop the striking workers from interrupting service delivery in the capital.

The organisation has asked that law enforcement provide security for refuse removal workers so they can continue with providing a service.

Rubbish has been piling up in the streets of the capital in recent weeks because of the strike while other services are also suffering.

A letter penned by AfriForum’s legal representatives demands that Cele and Masemola enforce the court ruling that bars the workers from the unlawful strike action and return to work.

The letter read: “Our client demands the swift arrest and subsequent investigation of individuals involved in acts of violence, intimidation or destruction of property.”

It added that the police should mobilise and allocate additional manpower “with immediate effect”.

“This is essential to ensure sufficient resources are committed to address the scale and complexity of the unrest and to maintain public order and safety for all residents.”

The letter further demanded that law enforcement implement a safety plan to ensure potential hotspots for violence, such as waste disposal sites, are adequately staffed and secured.

Recently two refuse trucks were set on fire, allegedly by striking workers, while a municipal employee was attacked after reporting for duty.

AfriForum has given Cele and Masemola until Friday this week to commit to undertaking the action demanded from them.

The organisation threatened legal action if this is not done. The letter further read: “Failure to comply with these demands may result in our client taking further legal action.”

AfriForum strategic adviser, Johan Kruger, accused police of dragging their feet in ending the strike.

He said they were not meeting their obligations to maintain safety in the city because the City had obtained an interdict against the illegal strike.

“Strikers set refuse removal trucks and dumpsites on fire, creating unsafe conditions for refuse removal workers and at landfill sites,” he said.

Meanwhile MMC for Roads and Transportation Katlego Mathebe announced at the weekend that bus services would resume from tomorrow.

“The recent weeks have been one of the most difficult periods for the City and many of our commuters who rely on our public transport service to reach places of work, school, and business.

“Furthermore, the illegal strike action has left many of our commuters stranded with limited choices of alternative transportation.

“The City has taken the decision to resume both Tshwane Bus Service and A Re Yeng operations, effective from Tuesday, September 12, 2023,” Mathebe said.

Pretoria News