At least two garbage disposal trucks have been set on fire in Pretoria in the last 24 hours.
Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink says good progress was made with rubbish removal, until these two trucks were set on fire.
One of the trucks belongs to a contractor of the municipality. A second truck, which was considered by violent strikers to be part of the municipality, does not belong to the city council.
A third truck was also set on fire by Samwu members before the strike and two trucks were also pelted with stones at the time and forced to dump their load.
“It is clear as day that this is part of a criminal strike, designed to bring the city and its communities to its knees,” says Brink. “When we experience such incidents, contractors withdraw and this has a paralyzing effect.”
Brink says it is important that residents realize what these incidents are about and the extent of the criminality towards the city.
“This is no longer a labor dispute. This is a criminal attack on a large scale and the city manager is meeting with the South African Police Service and security services to request assistance so that we can determine who is responsible for these attacks. We remain committed to the residents of the city, committed to catching up with our plans. We will not back down. We will not give up.”
Many Samwu workers went on strike illegally more than a month ago due to dissatisfaction with a 0% increase that the city accepted due to its extremely tight budget. Several of them have since been given the go-ahead. Earlier, Samwu himself encouraged striking workers to return to work.