Getrude Makhafola
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
20 Mar 2022
7:07 pm

City of Tshwane worker assaulted while attending to power outage, lands in ICU

Getrude Makhafola

Another team was attacked and robbed while out working in Nelmapius last month.

Picture: Marizka Coetzer

A City of Tshwane electrician is in ICU after he was severely beaten up by community members while attending to a power outage in Soshanguve.

Several areas in Tshwane are plagued by electricity outages, which the city blamed on an ongoing wild cat strike by the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members.

The city has accused workers who downed tools of sabotage and engaging in an illegal strike action.

City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the attack happened after a team was sent out to Block DD to attend to electricity problems on Saturday.

ALSO READ: City of Tshwane accuses Samwu of destabilising operations for political gain

“It turned out that a cable was stolen, causing the outage. When the team arrived, one of them who is the oldest, was grabbed by members of the community and attacked.

“His condition is stable now, but he remains in ICU. This is the kind of criminal behaviour that will lead to employees refusing to attend to work in communities for fear of being attacked.”

Bokaba said another team was attacked and robbed in Nelmapius last month.

“We will soon get to a point where colleagues refuse to go out into communities without police escort, and that will delay services to residents because teams will have to wait for police to arrive and accompany them to do the work.”

According to Tshwane mayor Randall Williams, a small group of striking workers sought to “drive narrow political interests and cause chaos in the city.”

“When this illegal strike began, the city immediately mobilised multiple resources and departments to ensure we respond, because majority of workers wanted to come to work and do their jobs.

READ MORE: ‘We mean business!’: City of Tshwane disconnects non-payers

“Unfortunately, Samwu’s actions taint us all. When a small group of employees threaten, intimidate and prevent colleagues from conducting their duties, it is not a labour matter, it is political.”

The union on Friday said the staffers on strike were ‘capacity workers’ who’d been demanding that their contracts be changed to permanent employment.

According to Samwu, the bargaining council instructed that the 89 employees be re-instated as part of the permanent staff.

It denied that it called a strike in the city or that its members were intimidating other workers.