The City of Tshwane says it has already received evidence weeks ago that a senior member of the municipal workers union Samwu was involved in an incident during which a contractor’s garbage disposal truck was set on fire.
Cilliers Brink, mayor of Tshwane, says that in a video of the attack, a group of people can be seen being dropped off in a street in Tshwane before they attack the truck and set it on fire.
The perpetrators are then picked up again in the same vehicle with which they were dropped off in the street.
This vehicle belongs to a senior official of Samwu.
Johann Mettler, city manager, informed Brink on Thursday that investigators had requested the senior official’s version of events. However, the official’s alibi could not be confirmed and Mettler sent the official a letter of dismissal.
The video was handed over to the police shortly after it was obtained. However, the police’s investigation is still ongoing and no arrests have been made.
“In the meantime, several attacks on personnel, vehicles and infrastructure of the City of Tshwane have been launched in furtherance of Samwu’s unprotected strike,” says Brink.
“The union has of course denied any involvement in acts of criminality. They also at times denied that there was a strike or that their leaders had any part in it. But the information in the metro’s possession draws a connection between Samwu’s top leadership and the commission of crime.”
Brink says he believes it is in the public interest to disclose the information regarding the official’s involvement.
“It is of critical importance that the people of Tshwane know what is going on and to what extent violent crime has been used as a negotiating tactic in this strike.
“We call on the leadership of Samwu to reflect on this incident, to stop speaking with a split tongue and to take every possible step necessary to ensure that their members their colleagues of City of Tshwane and allow contractors to do their work without fearing for their lives.
“We also once again appeal to national law enforcement not to treat the criminal assault on the City of Tshwane and our employees as a labor dispute or as an internal security issue, but as crimes against the state.”