600 much-needed jobs lost after factories torched in Gauteng looting spree - union
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Johannesburg - A union has expressed fear that thousands of jobs in factories that have been burnt down will be lost permanently.
The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) said a number of factories had been burnt in KwaZulu-Natal as the unrest continues.
“In particular, we are deeply disturbed at the looting and burning of factories and other workplaces,” Sactwu general secretary André Kriel has said.
He said the union had confirmed cases of factories burnt by people participating in the protests that broke out after the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.
“For example, in Isithebe, a brand new clothing factory (Kingspark Manufacturers) which was set up only in September last year, has been completely destroyed,” Kriel said.
“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.”
The Cosatu-affiliated Sactwu said Kingspark Manufacturers has been doing some laudable work around innovative workplace productivity collaboration.
“All their hard collaborative work to grow the company and its jobs has now been undone, and the multiple benefits to the broader industry lost,” Kriel said.
Kingspark Manufacturers was believed to have been burnt down on Monday night. Kriel said Sactwu knew of other factories that suffered the same fate.
“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,” he said.
“The consequence is that thousands more jobs could now be permanently lost.”
Kriel urged the police to uproot elements of criminality accompanying the unrest.
“We call on the police and other law enforcement agencies to clamp down hard on such unacceptable violent conduct. The perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted with the full might of the law, without fear or favour,” Kriel said.
“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.”