Woman lays charges after ‘assault’ by union members

Numsa Strike.

Numsa Strike.

Published May 24, 2024


Zanela Ntsibande, the woman who was allegedly the victim of a violent and sexualised attack by Numsa’s striking workers and regional leadership, has laid another charge.

This time she has pointed out a National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) official as one of her attackers. The official is now a person of interest in a criminal matter.

The official has not been available to talk to Saturday Star.

Ntsibande said she was pulled out of a minibus taxi. She was pulled by the breasts, pushed to the floor and kicked by Numsa members because she was going to work during an unprotected, illegal strike at SA Steel Mills (SASM) in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg.

Ntsibande told Saturday Star she was pulled by the breasts and beaten up. “I didn’t know we were on strike. The other workers said a strike would be unprotected and I was on my way to work.

“The next thing I heard loud bangs and men pulled us out of the car. One male person pulled me by the breasts, threw me on the floor and started kicking me. The other men just watched.

“One screamed in a loud voice ‘mbethe’ (“beat her”). One of them was reaching for my private parts,” a distraught Nsibande said on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Judge AJ Ntsoane declared that the strike in which Numsa’s members were participating was not in compliance with Chapter IV of the Labour Relations Act.

The Labour Court declared that the strike and picket outside SASM’s premises, under Numsa’s banner, was unlawful and that Numsa’s members must stop such strike action, picketing and other unlawful acts. The court ruled that any gathering at any of SASM premises would be illegal.

The court declared that Numsa should not encourage or incite any of SASM’s employees to participate in the strike. The court cautioned against Intimidating or inducing any of SASM’s employees to not to attend work, or conveying threats and committing acts of violence against SASM’s non-striking employees; and damaging any property.

Despite Numsa’s attorneys having acknowledged that Numsa and its members were aware of the court order, they ignored it as the strike still carried on yesterday.

Labour specialist Dr Barney Shabangu said the strike would have ended was it not for the election season.

“I am convinced that Numsa is prepared to drag out the strike until the election of a new government next week,” Shabangu said.

“The employer is not averse to engagement but it is worth remembering that the strike was unprotected, thus the court granted the interdict.”

Women’s rights organisations have lambasted Numsa for the Ntsibande incident.

Saturday Star

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