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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Chaos in Tshwane: Samwu strike escalates into violence and arrests

Amid a heated council meeting on Tshwane's financial crisis, Samwu members continue their illegal strike demanding salary increases.


While City of Tshwane council members met at Tshwane House to argue about the city’s dire finances, a group of South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members returned to the streets on day two of their illegal strike to demand salary increases. On Wednesday, thousands of Samwu members marched to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum to the mayor, but instead ended up fighting each other while the booze flowed and empty beer bottles were thrown at police. The monthly council meeting again saw a series of senseless interruptions by councillors shouting at the speaker. Councillors called various caucus…

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While City of Tshwane council members met at Tshwane House to argue about the city’s dire finances, a group of South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members returned to the streets on day two of their illegal strike to demand salary increases.

On Wednesday, thousands of Samwu members marched to Tshwane House to hand over a memorandum to the mayor, but instead ended up fighting each other while the booze flowed and empty beer bottles were thrown at police.

The monthly council meeting again saw a series of senseless interruptions by councillors shouting at the speaker.

Councillors called various caucus meetings to oppose the application to allow residents into council for public participation in the annual report findings.

READ: Turmoil in Tshwane: Political tensions escalate over coalition disputes

The mayor, Cilliers Brink, said the illegal strike action would not be tolerated and that striking employees would face disciplinary action.

“The city will not be coerced through violence and lawlessness to agree to salary increases,” he said.

“The city is in a precarious financial position and difficult decisions must be taken to rescue it from financial ruin.

“We will put this case in detail to the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.”

Brink said the no-work, no-pay principle will be applied.

“Thus far, 15 employees were arrested at the Samwu-led protest which escalated into violence yesterday,” he said.

“The city will study video footage to identify employees who engaged in violence, criminality and intimidation of working employees.

“Four employees who participated in illegal strike action and damaged public property in Centurion on Tuesday appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and were also served with a notice of intention to suspend their services.”

READ: Tshwane crime spree spike: Poor police presence under scrutiny

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