MUNICIPAL STRIKE: SAPS, traffic and municipal law enforcement out in full force

Police, traffic services and municipal law enforcement units have gathered at the municipal magasyn to ensure law and order as striking municipal employees face imminent dismissal today, for their refusal to return to work.

The municipal employees have embarked on a two month, unprotected strike, now entering a third month.

Negotiations between municipal employees and the municipality have stalled, with the SA Local Government Association demanding that the court interdict obtained against the illegal strike, be enforced.

Up to now, the municipality negotiated with striking employees “in good faith, hence salary payment for October was honoured,” Municipal Manager, Advocate Bheki Khenisa, told council during October 26’s special sitting, during which Mayor Diphala Motsepe distanced himself alongside council from any further involvement. It was resolved during the sitting that the matter of dealing with striking employees, be placed squarely on the shoulders of Advocate Khenisa, who issued a directive to all striking employees to return to work today, or face immediate dismissal.

Striking employees have been gathering around the magasyn since the strike started on September 19.

Today, however, striking employees were greeted by a full armoured force, with the Public Order Police unit deployed to ensure law and order, flanked by traffic and municipal law enforcement services. By 08:00 a hand full of striking employees gathered under the trees, while a small group formed at the magasyn’s entrance.

The strong deployment of police and law enforcement, is being welcomed by the community who are at wit’s end with ongoing sabotage of services, with some even offering rewards up to R20 000 for information that could lead to the arrest of the arsonists who burnt three municipal vehicles to ashes at the municipality’s town planning department in SADC Street.

Things are peaceful for now, with law enforcement telling that they “are ready”.

Gerhard Rheeder

I have been a journalist for two decades, with numerous awards to my credit, both in photography and writing. A brief stint as researcher in the opposition offices of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, honed my skills as specialist local government reporter, covering crime and courts.
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