City of Tshwane gets interdict against striking Samwu workers
15 City of Tshwane employees have been arrested and charged with public violence.
Samwu members protested outside Tshwane House in Pretoria, 26 July 2023. They were protesting about increases in their pay. Picture Neil McCartney
The City of Tshwane said it had been granted an interim interdict by the Labour Court on Friday against striking workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
“The city approached the Labour Court on an urgent basis following a week-long unlawful and illegal protest by employees, affiliated to labour movement Samwu, who intimidated their non-striking colleagues and caused damage to property,” said City of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba.
Strike declared unlawful
Bokaba said the Labour Court declared the strike action unlawful and unprotected. It ordered the Samwu members to disperse on Friday and to no longer take part in the strike.
Thousands of South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members have protested in Tshwane this week. The City of Tshwane workers are unhappy about not getting wage increases.
They are demanding a 5.4% increase.
Striking workers handed a memorandum to Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink on Friday.
City of Tshwane services disrupted
This came after many services in the city were disrupted.
Tshwane’s bus services were suspended after an A Re Yeng bus was stoned by angry Samwu members on Friday morning.
“The bus was pelted with stones along Lavender Road on its way to Wonderboom. The perpetrators smashed the windscreen on the driver’s side. Luckily the driver did not sustain any injuries and there were no passengers on board,” said the city’s spokesperson Lindela Mashigo.
The strike has also left residents without power for days after a main feed cable was cut off.
Fifteen City of Tshwane employees have been arrested and charged with public violence. Bokaba said this may lead to their dismissal.
“Tshwane trusts that the Samwu leadership will respect and comply with the court order and allow the striking workers to return to work and discharge their responsibilities of providing service delivery to the residents and customers,” said Bokaba.
Watch: Brink tells striking Tshwane employees not to disrupt services
On Friday, Brink told the striking employees that Tshwane couldn’t give them wage increases due to the city’s poor financial health.
“Even though we don’t pay Eskom and Rand Water on time every time, we do pay salaries on time every time,” he said.
He told the Samwu members not to punish residents for this.
“We cannot have clinics being closed down and buses being stoned and communities being punished,” he said.
Additional reporting by Marizka Coetzer