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DA looking into laying charges against SAMWU Buffalo City over 'threats'

Dec 5, 2018
DA looking into laying charges against SAMWU Buffalo City over 'threats'

The inability of the African National Congress (ANC ) to govern and effectively negotiate with striking ANC-aligned South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) has now led to the workers union threatening full blown violence, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Wednesday.

"On Tuesday, hundreds of striking SAMWU members gathered in front of City Hall in East London and tried to barge into a BCM Council Meeting.

"The ongoing strike has brought service delivery to a standstill and criminality is a daily problem," said Kevin Mileham - DA Eastern Cape Premier Campaign Spokesperson on Basic Services.

"The SAMWU leaders have now threatened to bring out their 'thugs' and use violence to get their way."

Mileham said that the exact words of SAMWU Campaign Coordinator, Zola Capucapu, were: “We will now activate amaphara [thugs]”.

Hundreds of workers from the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) downed tools two weeks ago, calling for the permanent employment of temporary workers and an improvement in their working conditions. 

The workers, aligned with SAMWU, have been striking in both East London and King Williams Town and have been accused of vandalising public property in order to further their cause..

DA says SAMWU Buffalo City may have incited more violence

"Given the destruction of municipal property and the widespread criminality involved in the strike, this inflammatory language will only exacerbate an already tense situation.

"The DA will therefore look into laying charges of incitement to violence against those involved in making this threat," he added.

"Now is the time for cool heads, an urgent return to the negotiations and for the City leadership to take residents and councillors into their confidence.

"The Mayor and Municipal Manager, during yesterday’s council meeting, had an opportunity to report back on and discuss solutions to the strike, as earlier requested by the DA.

"The failing ANC governed BCM Council rather decided to shelve this issue."

Mileham  said that the blame for the lack of the agreed upon resolutions with unions being implemented  must be placed "firmly at the feet of the failing ANC and the City Management".

"The DA has already proposed that the Municipality suspend and discipline all workers involved in the illegal strike (including criminally charging and dismissing any found to have damaged municipal property)," he added.

"The time has now come for SAMWU to also feel the full might of the law. We call on the South African Police Service to immediately arrest and charge all those involved in the criminal behaviour that has led to the current situation."

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