The police were called to the R55 in Centurion on Friday after protesters blocked the road with burning tyres. These rioters are said to be unhappy about service delivery in the City of Tshwane, including the restoration of power supply.
However, the service delivery problems are attributed to the ongoing strike by the union for municipal workers, Samwu, in the city of Jakaranda. While some officials have returned to work, others are now preventing their willing colleagues from performing their duties.
RNews earlier reported that an advisory metro board sent 41 letters of possible suspension to the still striking municipal workers on Thursday, after they failed to comply with the interim interdict the metro obtained last week.
The metro is approaching the labor court again today and plans to issue more letters of possible suspension.
Cilliers Brink, mayor of the metro, says it is not just a case of some municipal workers refusing to work, but also that they are now intimidating their colleagues who do arrive in the morning to provide services.
“I want to assure residents once again that the city is not taking the strike lying down, and that we are doing everything in our power to put an end to the disruptions.
“Warning letters have already been issued to striking employees. The city also obtained an interdict – we are in court again today regarding the interdict for contempt of court against some union leaders. Yesterday, 41 letters of intent to dismiss employees were issued. Quite a few more of these letters will soon be issued by the city manager, Johann Mettler,” says Brink.
“There will be consequences for destructive behavior and criminality in the city. I can give that assurance to residents.”
According to Brink, due to security risks, the existing continuity plans cannot be communicated in fine detail by the board members. However, he says considerable work is being done to catch up with the backlog of basic service delivery.
“Although I completely understand residents’ frustrations, this is in fact a city-wide issue; many of our board members are in the same position.”
Brink says the intention is clear to cause the maximum disruption by striking workers so that the city will give in and agree to a salary increase, “which we know the people of Tshwane cannot afford”.
“The majority of our people in the City of Tshwane are doing their best despite difficult circumstances.
“We will continue to manage this issue; we will continue to provide services and we will not be deterred,” says Brink.
“Our commitment to be clear and candid with residents about the way forward is still a priority; we ask for patience as we manage the city through this very difficult time.”