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South African Protest News 1- 6 June 2010 (2010) South African Protest News 1- 6 June 2010.  : -.

Khayelitsha toilets war in court
Sowetan 4 June 2010

KHAYELTSHA residents will ask the court to force the Cape Town
Municipality to rebuild open air toilets – they have been described as a
throwback top apartheid – they demolished on Monday.

Advocate Themba Langa, who is representing the 61 people whose toilets
were taken by the council on Monday, says he will plead with the court
to get the metro to engage the affected parties.

The court challenge comes after the city’s ANC Youth League secretary
Loyiso Nkohla and 23 other people have spent two nights in Pollsmoor
Prison, accused of inciting riots in protest against ’s open-air toilets.

They were arrested early on Tuesday morning after they organised a
blockade of the busy N2 highway in protest against the city’s removal of
the toilets.

Another group of 11 people, arrested on Tuesday afternoon, appeared in
the Khayelitsha magistrate’s court yesterday . Dozens of ANCYL
supporters gathered at the court yesterday in a show of solidarity.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance’s toilet troubles are spreading north
of Cape Town, 140km up the N1 highway to De Doorns.

This time a refugee rights group has accused Western Cape Premier Helen
Zille of leaving 300 displaced Zimbabweans in a camp without a single

A bitter squabble broke out yesterday between provincial officials and
Braam Hanekom, spokesperson for People Against Suffering, Suppression,
Oppression and Poverty (Passop).

The provincial government is poised to close down the displaced people’s
camp in De Doorns, which sprung up last November when about 2000
Zimbabweans sought refuge there .

In an open letter, Hanekom lashed out at Zille after the metro allegedly
removed all the toilets from the area on Tuesday.

But Ashraf Kafaar, a regional coordinator in the provincial department
of local government and housing, claimed that the camp had 90 toilets,
and that only 27 had been removed.


Ext 9 residents protest hall opening
Thembeni Plaatjie and Luvuyo Gcule
Grocott's Mail 4 June 2010

The official opening ceremony of the Extension 9 community hall in was
postponed indefinitely on Friday amid protests from the residents over
the consultation process.

Fuming ward 5 residents toyi-toyied and barricaded Ncede street that
leads to the hall with stones, the gate to the hall was also locked,
preventing municipal officials and vehicles from entering the hall. “We
will burn it (the hall),” shouted one resident in the heat of the protest.

The disgruntled residents argued that they were not informed about the
opening of the hall. They waved placards and chanted freedom songs that
are against Makana mayor Vumile Lwana.

Ward 5 Councillor Luyanda Nase said the residents are unhappy because of
lack of consultation on the part of the council. “This is for the
people, the community was not informed on time about the opening of the
hall. Even myself, as the councillor, I was not informed timeously about

He further stated that artists and caterers in the area were not part of
the prepations. “The municipality hired caterers from other wards for
the event, while we have caterers in the ward,”

An Extension 9 resident, Nomvume Stofile said: “There will be no opening
of the hall today, Makana municipality should have consulted the
community about the opening of the hall first. We don't even know the
name of the hall."

She argued that there should have been a community-based structure that
worked with the municipality on the preparations for the event. “After
hearing about this on radio we approached the ward councillor and asked
him if he knew anything about this, and he told us that he was unaware
of it.

"Accompanied by our councillor, we then went to the mayor to find the
answers, but Lwana refused to speak to us saying he would rather speak
with the councillor. We told him we will leave with the councillor if he
doesn't want to speak to us because we had all come to see him,” said

Artists said they are dissapointed with the way they were treated by the
municipality as they were invited to the event on the day before. Makana
Arts Council secretary Luvuyo Phongolo said they were asked by the
municipality to send only five artists to perform at the event.

He added that they were told the restriction of five artists was due to
budgetary constraints. "We selected from the more than thirty artists
which were auditioned last week for the world cup Public Viewing Area.
“This morning we were welcomed by the angry residents and our members
who stay in Extension 9 were also not aware of the event.”

Nase said: “The community only knew about this through the radio and
some pamphlets which were distributed in the streets.”

Police arrived at the scene and told the residents that the municipality
has sent someone to tell them that the event was postponed. About ten
police vehicles were on the scene to keep an eye on the residents. The
police cordoned off the area near the hall's entrance because the
protesters were pushing each other towards the gate blocking access to
the hall.

Makana corporate services director Thabiso Klaas arrived and told the
protesters that the event was postponed until further notice. “I was
asked by the council to tell you that your concerns are valid, and that
the municipality is postponing the event to allow time to meet with the
residents,” said Klaas.

At the time of going to print comment could not be obtained from the
municipality as Makana spokesperson Thandy Matebese said he was busy.

My boys weren't thieves
Slindile Maluleka 4 June 2010

A heartbroken father, 45-year-old Sibangani Memela, whose three sons
were gunned down, allegedly by police from the Phoenix police station in
Mount Moriah this week, has lost all trust in the police.

Memela now has only one wish, for the justice system not to fail him.

His sons, twins Xolisani and Mzothiswa, both 25, and Zikhaliphele, 22,
originally from Bulwer, were allegedly shot dead by police on Tuesday
night, after the brothers were accused of being responsible for several

Their brother, Mthethawukho, 27, was arrested at the scene.

Two guns were found at the crime scene and police claim that when they
approached the house, the brothers opened fire on them first. But Memela
said none of his sons owned a gun.

The killings have angered residents who staged a protest against police
brutality yesterday.

The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) is investigating the
police's conduct in the incident.

"My sons were not criminals and they would never be involved in any
criminal activities. I always thought police could be trusted, but
clearly I was wrong. My sons were the only breadwinners in the family.
How am I going to live now?" asked Memela.

He said his sons were all football lovers who played for a local soccer
team, Strikers FC, and "were looking forward to the World Cup that is
just a few days away but never survived to see it".

Xolisani worked at a welding workshop in Springfield and the other sons
had casual work.

"Mthethawukho told me police asked him where he was coming from and
where he was going. He answered them. Police then asked him where he
lived and who he lived with and he responded to their question," Memela

My son also said the police asked him to phone his brothers, to notify
them that he was on his way home.

"His brothers were already expecting him. When they arrived at the
house, police instructed him to knock on the door.

"As soon as the door was open, Mthethawukho was taken back to the
vehicle and was assaulted while police opened fire, killing my three
sons," said a sobbing Memela, who arrived at the scene a day after the

He said his sons' cellphones, bank cards and ID books had gone missing
after the incident.

Bhekizenzo Nzuza, the local community policing forum chairman, also came
to the defence of the three men, saying they were never involved in any
criminal activities.

"The only thing they were well known for was their soccer talent. The
community is very unhappy about the incident and we demand to know the
outcome of the investigations and the suspension of the officers
involved," he said.

Nzuza alleged that incidents of people accusing police of harassment
were frequent in Phoenix but it had never gone so far.

ICD national spokesman, Moses Dlamini, said they were investigating the
shootings and other allegations that had been made against police.

He also confirmed that two firearms found at the crime scene had been
taken for ballistic testing.

"The case could change depending on the findings," said Dlamini who
declined to elaborate further on the incident, saying it would
jeopardise the investigation process.

The IFP has expressed anger at the killings.

The party's national organiser, Albert Mncwango, said that they were
concerned and outraged with what appeared to be "another incident of
recklessness on the part of the KwaZulu-Natal police".

"There has been an alarming increase in similar incidents.

"The IFP would like to convey its heartfelt condolences to the family
and friends of Xolisani, Mzothiswa and Zikhaliphele," Mncwango said.

* This article was originally published on page 3 of The Daily News on
June 04, 2010

Train services suspended after commuters set fire to carriages
Sapa 4 June 2010

Train services in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, have been suspended
after angry commuters set alight train carriages

Photograph by: Robert Tshabalala

Passenger Rail Agency of SA spokeswoman Nana Zenani says the passengers'
behaviour had put assets and employees at risk.

This means that as from this afternoon [Friday], Prasa will suspend
train operations on that line until further notice.

"Passengers are advised to make alternative arrangements and to take
note that no tickets will be sold for the Randfontein line," she said.

Angry passengers burnt down two carriages on Friday morning.

Police said the train was set alight when it was unable to proceed to
Krugersdorp due to cable theft.

"They were angry that they will be late for work and set two carriages
on fire," said police spokesman Warrant Officer Dennis Jones.

The fire was extinguished and a case of arson had been opened. No
arrests had been made.

Protest march will halt exams
ASA SOKOPO Weekend Post 3 June 2010

EXAMS in the Eastern Cape will grind to a halt today (June 3) as South
African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) members march against
corruption and poor service delivery within the provincial Department of
Education, reports Dispatch Online.

Thousands of union members will march from Bhisho Stadium to the
Premier’s Office to hand over a memorandum to Education MEC Mahlubandile
Qwase, Premier Noxolo Kiviet and representatives from the Legislature.

Sadtu has cited “fruitless” meetings between themselves and the
department as the reason behind the march – and as a result, Grade 6 and
9 pupils will write their arts and culture paper on Friday at 2pm.

Education specialist Dr Ken Alston said the march was “highly illegal”.

But Education Department deputy director-general Sithembele Zibi said
various schools had requested the paper be postponed to accommodate the

Explaining why the paper was scheduled for 2pm, Zibi said there was
already a paper being written in the morning and therefore the afternoon
was the only suitable time.

Unions and schools in the province, however, condemned Sadtu’s
disruption of exams.

The principal of a King William’s Town school said his school only
received notification of the Sadtu march yesterday at about 2pm when
pupils had already gone home.

“We had other commitments and can’t be hijacked like this. We don’t even
know what the march is about and neither do my staff who are Sadtu
members.” The deputy principal of a Mdantsane school said it would be
“business as usual” for them.

Yesterday, Sadtu provincial general secretary Fezeka Loliwe said the
march was their last resort.

“The department is becoming worse and, really, this is the last resort.
Those who are alleged to be involved in corruption must be charged and
suspended. In all likelihood, those people will tamper with evidence.

“Sadtu has tried to engage the Eastern Cape Department of Education on
challenges facing the department on several occasions but to no avail,”
Loliwe said.

Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie provincial chairman Pierre Hauman said
it was appalling teachers had to bear the brunt of an action that did
not contribute to the quality of education.

He said it still remained unclear what the march was about.

Peter Duminy, provincial chief executive officer of the National
Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, said they were
concerned challenges that faced education in the province were further
compounded by decisions made in response to pressure.

“It may be the year of the World Cup in our country, but that is no
excuse to use the future of our children as a political football,”
Duminy said. – Dispatch Online

Service delivery protests rock North West
3 June 2010

There has been a resurgence of service delivery protests in the North
West. In the last 48 hours, three separate protests took place in the
province, the latest two occurring last night at Braklaagte village just
outside Zeerust and the other at Majemantsho village, just outside

On Tuesday night, more than 30 people were arrested at Tlaakgameng
village just outside Vryburg after causing huge damages to public
buildings, following a protest action. The Braaklagte community says
protests are the only way to attract the attention of the
Ramotshere‑Moiloa Local Municipality whose administrative seat is at

Locals claim that they have had irregular water supply for the past
three years. The local municipality is accused of giving preferential
treatment to municipal officials and traditional authorities. One of the
examples cited by protesters is the erection of water tanks, within
walking distance of the residences of the officials and traditional
authorities at the expense of ordinary members of the community.

Angry protesters tried to destroy some of the water tanks, saying they
do not serve the general interests of the community. However, the
Braklaagte community leadership says it will meet with the local
municipality later today in an effort to find solutions to the area's
water challenges.

The community also claims that they have been drinking unhealthy water
from tanks provided to them. They say that used condoms have often been
found in the tanks. In Mafikeng, police were forced to use rubber
bullets to disperse a mob of youth who had barricaded the road with
burning tyres in protest against poor service delivery at Majemanthso

Protesters burn down multipurpose centre in Tarlton
Sapa 4 June 2010

Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu. Photo: Sowetan

A multipurpose centre was burnt down in a service delivery protest in
Tarlton, west of Johannesburg today, the Gauteng health department said.

Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said a clinic, which was part of the
building, was destroyed along with medication and baby formula stored there.

She said while communities had a right to protest, the destruction of
public property was unacceptable.

“Destruction of state property such as clinics and multipurpose centres
cannot be regarded as a form of protest, but an act of criminality as
this has the potential to deny residents their right to access health
services and other essential needs,” she said in a statement.

The health department would provide a mobile clinic in the area as an
interim measure to ensure health services continued.

The department said hundreds of residents in Tarlton were protesting
about service delivery related issues when they burnt down the centre.

Toilets 'violet right to dignity'
Sapa 4 June 2010

The City of Cape Town had violated Khayelitsha residents' right to
dignity by not enclosing toilets it installed for them, the SA Human
Rights Commission said on Friday.

Commissioner Pregs Govender was releasing the findings of the
commission's probe into the toilet saga, prompted by a complaint it
received from the ANC Youth League in January.

She told a media briefing in Cape Town that the commission recommended
that the city reinstall the 51 toilets, which were removed this week,
and enclose them with immediate effect.

The enclosures should be brick and mortar, not corrugated iron, she said.

She said the full report on the commission's investigation would be
released next week.

The findings come after several days of violent protests in Khayelitsha
over the toilets, in which 32 people were arrested.

The council said it erected the toilets on the understanding that they
would be enclosed by the members of the community they were intended for.

When the council erected iron and wood enclosures around them last week,
members of the league took the lead in breaking these down. ‑ Sapa

Zille: ANCYL leader was part of open toilet programme
4 June 2010

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) regional secretary, Andile Lili who called for
the destruction of toilets in Makhaza, Western Cape was in fact part of
the Cape Town City's service delivery programme ‑ which include the open
air toilets ‑ as a "community liaison officer", Democratic Alliance
leader Hele Zille says in her weekly newsletter titled The truth behind
the so‑called "toilet wars".

Zille accepted that "open toilets are a serious affront to human dignity
and cannot be condoned", but argued that it was due to budget constraints.

"The issue had its genesis under my watch as Mayor of Cape Town when the
City began an ambitious programme to deliver services (such as water,
sewerage, roads, storm water and electricity) to 223 informal
settlements (home to around 650,000 shack dwellers) across the
metropolitan area. Most of these settlements are the consequence of land
invasions. Densities, and lack of planning, make “retrofitting” services
in these areas a technically complex task," says Zille.

She says technical difficulties pale into insignificance compared to the
social complexities of upgrading a densely populated informal
settlement. "Inevitably, upgrading results in intense community
conflict, as some people have to move to make way for service
installation, and people vie for access to the jobs that upgrading
offers. Usually, community conflict stalls delivery for many months, and
often stops it altogether. Very few contractors wish to work on these
projects because of the social conflict that inevitably arises, which is
why they always cost more and take much longer than initially planned".

She says "to facilitate these processes where possible, contractors
usually employ a “community liaison officer” (CLO) to achieve consensus
and minimise conflict.

"In Silvertown, the CLO was none other than ANC Youth League (ANCYL)
regional secretary, Andile Lili, who achieved notoriety when he was one
of the group smashing the toilet enclosures in pursuit of the ANCYL’s
call to destroy infrastructure and make the City “ungovernable”. In his
paid position as CLO facilitating the Silvertown provision of services,
Lili had played a key role in implementing an agreement that emerged
from lengthy negotiations with the community about how to meet their
priorities out of the available budget," says Zille.

The budget, based on the national norms for the upgrading of informal
settlements, provides one flush toilet for every five families, she
says, but the community understandably wanted one flush toilet per family.

"The proposed way to achieve this was for the City to provide the
toilets and plumbing connections, while the families themselves would
make a contribution and enclose the toilets. This seemed an ideal
win‑win solution. It certainly was for the 97% (1,265) of Silvertown
families who built their toilet enclosures, often in the most innovative
“en‑suite” arrangements attached to their dwellings. But it did not work
for 51 families (less than 3% of total beneficiaries). For whatever
reason, they did not enclose their toilets, and some even used their
open air toilets under cover of blankets," Zille says.

She says when the City built enclosures for the 51 open toiltets – it
encountered resistance from the 1,265 families who argued that if they
had built their enclosures themselves, so could the remaining 51.

"After listening to these arguments, Mayor Plato concluded that it would
be untenable to continue with the indignity of open toilets. The City
would therefore enclose the remaining toilets. By this time, the ANCYL
had realised it was on to a good thing. Photos of unenclosed toilets had
appeared in the media. The ANCYL lost no time using this to “prove” the
lie that the DA treats black people with indignity, and developed a keen
interest in ensuring the toilets remained open," Zille says.

She says when the City biult enclosures, the ANC youth league broke down
the enclosures "as fast as they could be built – against the pleas of
the owners to stop doing so".

"This left the City with only two options: to leave the toilets
unenclosed, or to remove them. The first option remained untenable. It
was therefore resolved that the toilets would be temporarily removed
until enclosures were built. Then the toilets would be returned. This
could, theoretically, happen within a few days. In the meantime, the
community would continue to be serviced by toilets on the national
standard ratio of 5 families to 1 toilet (with a concrete enclosure),"
says Zille.

She says this is far better than what is available in most informal
settlements in ANC‑run metropolitan areas. A recent National Treasury
report found that Cape Town was well ahead of other metro municipalities
in dealing with infrastructure backlogs and delivery of services.

"Cape Town would be even further ahead if it were not for the vandalism
of municipal infrastructure, such as the wanton destruction of toilets
perpetrated by the ANCYL last week," says Zille.

According to Alderman Clive Justus, Cape Town’s Mayco member for Utility
Services, the City last year spent more than R80 million on repairing or
replacing stolen or vandalised basic services in informal settlements.

Zille says for every R3 that the City spends of its R125 million annual
budget for water and sanitation facilities in informal settlements, R2
is spent on repairs and replacement of vandalized or stolen infrastructure.

Justus said recently that in the past financial year, the City had
installed 422 water stand pipes, but had to effect 5 482 repairs to
sabotaged or stolen pipes and taps. In the same year, the City’s Utility
Services installed 2 458 toilets, but had to make 4, 302 repairs to
cisterns, pans, pipes and ablutions damaged by criminals.

Last December, 300 out of 464 toilets installed in a Delft informal
settlement were broken or had parts stolen. In Philippi, vandals
destroyed 26 ablution blocks containing six toilets each. In RR Section
of Khayelitsha, chemical toilets were burned to the ground. This all
happened within weeks of installation.

"To address the theft of copper cabling, brass valves, lead batteries,
manhole covers and water meters, the City is now using only plastic or
steel pipes, and concrete for toilets. Underground electricity cables
are now covered with concrete so that they can’t be dug out. Cape Town’s
‘Copperheads’ task team has also cracked down on dealers of stolen scrap
metal. The City has even provided padlocks and chains to community
leaders to keep toilet facilities secure overnight," says Zille.

She says Justus warned that a new pattern is emerging, whereby plastic
pipes are stolen, despite their minimal re‑sale value, concrete toilets
are smashed with axes, and even padlocks are being taken.

"City officials report that residents sometimes vandalise facilities to
secure more jobs in the subsequent repair programmes on the basis of the
City’s “local employment” policies, creating a perverse incentive for
people to destroy newly installed infrastructure, to secure employment
in the repair work. When contractors employ other outside labour, local
communities often drive them out of the area, delaying projects by
months and years. This pushes up the cost of services in informal
settlements," says Zille.

She says the city has decided that the best way to instill a sense of
ownership and an ethos of respecting property, is for each family to
contribute to the construction and maintenance of their own toilet.

‑ Times Live

Dis-Chem workers enter day six of national strike
SACCAWU 2 June 2010

SACCAWU members at Dis-Chem outlets throughout the country are entering their sixth day on strike to compel the company to negotiate with the Union for wage increases and other terms and conditions of employment. Workers in the meantime have decided to intensify the strike and call on solidarity from the community at large, while considering calling on workers employed at suppliers to Dis-Chem to take action as well as discussing a consumer boycott.

The refusal of Dis-Chem to negotiate with the Union has led to SACCAWU embarking on the current protected strike action. Over the recent period the Union has noticed a tendency by some national, regional and local companies of adopting extremely intransigent positions in dealings with SACCAWU. This development appears to be a calculated move on the side of some employers to use the national mood and patriotic fervour during the FIFA World Cup to push through severe on the working class and erode rights fought for and won through bitter struggles over decades. Such employers hope that workers will not engage in industrial action during the World Cup, while at the same time employers embark on rampant attacks on the working class. Dis-Chem's attitude in this dispute is a clear example of this.

Underlying this attitude is the ongoing attempts throughout the wholesale and retail sector to weaken the trade union movement. However, we will not allow the rights of workers to be eroded by such anti-union employers, neither will we be blackmailed, held hostage and silenced because we're hosting the FIFA World Cup. This tendency is calculated to solicit support of the unsuspecting public, pitting them against the labour movement and working class under the pretext of so-called and selective patriotism. If the corporations were genuinely patriotic as they would like to be projected, why is it that we always have to drag them kicking and screaming when it comes to workers rights or the Proudly South African Campaign. Even today many still do not support this campaign. It is for this reason that we warn the public of such convenient and selective patriotism of the bosses and must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.

Despite workers being harassed by store managers, mall managers, Metro Police, SAPS, including the assault of some workers on the picket-line by a store manager in Pretoria, the workers remain united and determined in the strike. The harassment faced by striking workers on the picket-line is a further attempt to provoke workers and turn public opinion against the strike instead of negotiating with SACCAWU the issues placed on the table by the workers. SACCAWU also expresses concern about CCMA role in imposing picket rules that negate workers' right to picket and instead outrightly favour companies that further exacerbate the problems on the picket line. In this regard SACCAWU has decided for a review or variation of the picket rules.

In the meantime SACCAWU has called for a meeting with COSATU and affiliated unions that represent workers supplying the pharmacy chain to consider further action. SACCAWU also intend calling a meeting with police unions to discuss the issues of harassment of striking workers on the picket-lines. This unusual high-handedness displayed by the police in open collusion with store managers and Mall managers in this strike, at the expense of workers rights disguised as ensuring law and order during the World Cup would not be tolerated. Because of the issues of harassment of striking workers on the picket-line we call on the Ministry of Police to urgently intervene and address this matter. Failure to address these problems on the picket-line can only lead to chaos, if needs be we will call a meeting with the Minister or his representatives to raise these problems.

At the same time SACCAWU is preparing for mass protest marches in various centers in the country while also canvassing and considering a call for a consumer boycott of Dis-Chem. Finally, SACCAWU is also starting an international solidarity campaign to support the striking workers.

Workers Demand that:
Dis-Chem must negotiate with SACCAWU on the following demands.
• R3500-00 minimum wage
• 15% across the board increase
• conversion of casuals to permanent after three months
• guaranteed 13th cheque
• parental rights, medical aid, transport allowance and improvement of other benefits

Mike Abrahams

Head office 0114038333
Thabo Mahlangu 0823365682
Lee Modiga 0823365327
Mike Abrahams 0716288474
Mduduzi Mbongwe 0823365146
Bones Skulu 0823365014

No place for R1000 a month, says NUM
NUM 2 June 2010

Strike by over a hundred workers at Autumn Slate Quarry, a slate producing company at Groot Marico in Zeerust, some 70 km outside Rustenburg in the Northwest province has today entered its fourth week. The workers who earn a R1000 per month demand that the company should increase its minimum wages to at least R3000 per month and that it should also offer a R1500 living out allowance. “It is totally ridiculous that at this time and age, there is still a company that pays its workforce one thousand rands per month” says Lazarus Ditshwene, the NUM‘s Regional Chairperson in the Rustenburg region. Meanwhile, management has disappeared for some time whilst the workers continue to protest at the mine. The Department of Labour inspectors who arrived at the company yesterday had declared the conditions inhumane and would next week revisit the company to meet its management. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) calls on management to accede to workers demands and on the Department of Mineral Resources to take some action on the state of Health at the mine.

Lazarus Ditshwene (NUM Regional Chair, Rustenburg)- 082 882 2947

Lesiba Seshoka – (NUM Spokesman) 082 803 6719

Massdiscounters workers strike against retrenchments
SACCAWU Press Release 1 June 2010

SACCAWU Press release; Massdiscounters strike against retrenchments
and unilateral changes in terms and conditions of employment

High-handed Wallmart tactics at work as Massdiscounters unilaterally
restructure and prepare to retrench 1 500 workers

The Massdiscounters division of Massmart Holdings is busy with the
most aggressive union-bashing attack SACCAWU has experienced since
the height of Apartheid. The company in what appears to be preparing
the ground for the speculated takeover by Walmart has decided to
unilaterally restructure all company operations which will include
the retrenchment of 1500 workers and a range of draconian
restructuring measures reminiscent of the darkest days of Apartheid.
The proposed measures will have a severe negative effects on the
terms and conditions of employment for the bulk of workers employed
by Massdiscounters.

Similar processes are at work at Makro another of Massmart Holdings
divisions. This to us is a clear indication of the Walmartisation of
the group in the context of ongoing speculation that Walmart intends
to buy-out Massmart Holdings. This is of grave concern to SACCAWU as
Walmart is known to be the most hostile and openly anti-union retail
company in the world. SACCAWU will not tolerate or accept any
downward variation of workers employment conditions and will fight
these developments with all our might. SACCAWU also plans to tackle
the Massmart group as a whole to prevent these changes and will
oppose all attempts by Walmart to takeover Massmart.

At Massdiscounters, after months of negotiations over retrenchments,
restructuring and re-engineering of job descriptions and job titles
with no progress, SACCAWU decided to take action to halt the current
unilateral introduction of these measures and prevent any further
changes without consultation and agreement with SACCAWU.

The issues:

  • Retrenchment of 1500 workers, 700 permanent and 800 flexi-time

  • The imposition of ultra-flexi time contracts.

  • 49 hour rolling week with Sundays as normal time

  • Compressed working week without overtime.

  • Sunday and Public holidays compulsory work.

  • All those not faced with retrenchment to reapply for their positions under new terms of employment as outlined above.

  • All re-applications to be considered after an interview which will include psychometric testing, which upon failing workers will be

  • All those that will remain in employment will be given new job
    titles, job descriptions and for many new salary rates.

  • The introduction of new Green Light technology that requires
    tertiary vocational training and the refusal by the company to offer
    any training to staff except for management.

  • In the context of the current economic climate, high levels of
    unemployment and the national consensus to cushion the severest
    effects on workers, Massdiscounters shows no regard for the
    consequences of their plans on an already stressed working class.
    While there has been a clamour to call on workers not to strike
    during the World Cup Competition, it is clear that bosses are hoping
    to use the same period to push through such draconian measures as
    planned by Massdiscounters. They hope to turn public opinion against
    striking workers while ruthlessly attacking workers standard of
    living. We want to state clearly that is the bosses that are using
    the World Cup competition to drive down workers terms and conditions
    of employment. However, we will not be admitted nor compromise
    workers rights because of the World Cup. We call on the community to
    support workers in their struggles against these attacks.

    In the light of the above and failure to make progress in
    negotiations with the company, SACCAWU deadlocked and withdrew from
    negotiations. The company in turn responded by issuing notices of
    termination of services to about 200 workers at the warehouses and
    numerous stores. These notices were accompanied by the police to
    enforce and escort workers off the premises.

    It is clear that the company is targeting the strongholds of the
    SACCAWU, our shopstewards and active union members. This is not
    simply a dispute over restructuring but blatant union-bashing.

    The workers at a National Shopstewards Council resolved to engage in
    disciplined industrial action to confront this onslaught by the

    Workers have decided to commence their struggle with a day of action
    at all the Massdiscounters stores and warehouses throughout the
    country scheduled for 10 June 2010. This action will take the form
    of mass marches in various big centres in the country and pickets at
    all other outlets throughout the country. This action will be
    followed by other forms of industrial action.

    Massdiscounters workers will also convene a meeting with workers and
    shopstewards from all other divisions of Massmart Holdings to
    develop a programme of action across the group to stop the
    Walmatisation and union-bashing actions of the group.

    Mike Abrahams

    Soldiers to get Zuma wage hike at last
    Wilson Johwa (Business Day) 27 May 2010

    MORE than 50000 soldiers would receive five months’ back pay in July,
    six months after salary increases were announced by President Jacob Zuma
    , the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said yesterday.

    The chief of human resources in the SANDF, Lt-Gen Derick Mgwebi,
    yesterday said the delay in making the payment was because the military
    feared the clerical and computerised parts of its systems would be

    “You want to minimise any errors in terms of what happens at the end of
    the day,” he said during a media briefing in Pretoria.

    Mgwebi’s disclosure followed a complaint by the South African National
    Defence Union (Sandu) last week, amid talk of fresh protests by soldiers
    during next month’s Soccer World Cup.

    The union said Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu had reneged on a
    commitment, made in her department’s budget vote on May 4, to make the
    payments from May 15.

    The money owed to between 50000 and 55000 soldiers followed a salary
    adjustment of between 2% and 65% for lower ranks effected in December.

    The wage hikes — backdated to July of last year — came soon after a
    protest march by soldiers in Pretoria turned violent, resulting in about
    1300 being placed on special leave pending investigations.

    While most of the accused soldiers had been cleared, others would be
    brought before a military court, said Mgwebi. Strikes within the
    military carried a heavy penalty, he said.

    “It is quite clear that soldiers are a different breed of people ... the
    constitution doesn’t allow us to strike,” he said, effectively igniting
    a fresh debate that sets the military against the unions, including the
    Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Last year, Cosatu came
    out in support of soldiers’ right to strike.

    In 1998, the Constitutional Court affirmed the right of soldiers to join

    More recently, the unions argued that they had resorted to protest
    action as a last resort because of the military’s dysfunctional
    grievance procedure. This included a “nonfunctioning” military
    bargaining council.

    Mgwebi said Sandu was one of two registered military unions in SA. But
    he said neither Sandu nor the South African Security Forces Union
    (Sasfu) met the 15000- member requirement needed to sit on the military
    bargaining council.

    However, Mgwebi said Sandu disputed the military’s claims, and this had
    in turn resulted in the Department of Defence enlisting KPMG to audit
    the union’s membership. The results of that audit were still pending. In
    the meantime, the SANDF was engaging the unions “informally”.

    Sandu national secretary Pikkie Greeff dismissed the military’s
    assertion that the union did not meet the threshold required to sit on
    the bargaining council.

    “We are an admitted party to the council and have been for nine years,”
    Greeff said. If this was not the case, “the correct procedure for the
    employer would have been to declare a dispute arbitrated in the council

    Since the recent salary adjustments, soldiers’ earnings were comparable
    with those of the police, said Mgwebi. Members of the defence force were
    often seen as being paid too little to make it into the middle class.

    Mgwebi said in the past three years the SANDF had been involved in a
    process to determine the true financial worth of members. Comparisons
    had been made with countries such as Australia and Brazil. “We are
    working on this specific nature of military service,” he said.

    Makhaza residents protest over toilets
    Natasha Prince and Ella Smook 31 May 2010

    Police fired rubber bullets at protesting Makhaza residents in
    Khayelitsha after they burned barricades because City of Cape Town
    workers destroyed temporary structures around toilets in the area.

    On Monday morning residents from Zone 14 in Makhaza and the Nkanini
    settlement of Makhaza burnt tyres.

    They marched towards Baden Powell Drive where the city workers were
    dismantling the toilets.

    The group then turned around and marched back to the area where they
    burnt rubbish and tyres in the streets as city authorities stood around
    the toilets.

    By noon, a heavy police presence monitored Makhaza, although most of the
    protesters had dispersed.

    Toilets ignite new protest: Youth league supporters burn tyres against 'racist' loos
    Bobby Jordan 31 May 2010

    Two hundred protesters burned tyres on the outskirts of Cape Town
    yesterday in the latest salvo against the "racist" city council.

    The protesters, mainly supporters of the ANC Youth League, are upset
    with the council for building "inhumane" corrugated-iron toilet shelters
    instead of fully enclosed structures for residents in Khayelitsha.

    But the city says it was simply doing what the community had asked for.

    A large group of police watched yesterday as protesters set up a barrier
    of burning tyres in Walter Sisulu Drive, close to the controversial
    toilets site in Ward 95.

    The latest protest was sparked by the council's decision to remove the
    unfinished toilets after some of them were destroyed last week by youth
    league supporters.

    Police spokeswoman Captain Anneke van der Vyver said police responded to
    two groups of protesters during the course of yesterday morning, but
    there were no reports of injuries.

    "Tyres were burnt by a group of onlookers who were residents in that
    area. Police responded immediately and extinguished the tyres. They did
    not fire rubber bullets," Van der Vyver said.

    She said the crowd calmed down after being addressed by senior
    provincial officials, who explained the situation regarding the
    controversial toilets.

    Last week, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato publicly defended the city's moves,
    but the youth league claims the toilets are "racist" and insulting to
    the area's black residents.

    Plato told a press conference yesterday that the affected community
    should protest against "hooligans" who destroyed much-needed infrastructure.

    He told The Times last night that most of the 51 families who benefited
    from the "unfinished" toilets were angry with the youth league as they
    would now have to use "communal" toilets.

    He said that more than 1000 similar "unfinished" toilets had been
    properly enclosed by other communities.

    "At the end of the day those families are back to square one, where they
    have to continue sharing the community toilets," Plato said.

    "I would have loved to enclose those toilets because it is the ideal aim
    for us, still, to have one toilet for each erf. Other enclosed toilets
    look so nice."

    Plato said it was the city's "honest aim to bring some dignity back into
    the lives of these people".

    "It is a completely unfortunate situation for the youth league to make a
    unilateral decision for the whole community. They say no one will erect
    the toilets," he said.

    "I see politicking in it. I think that to some extent it has blown up in
    their [the youth league's] faces. I don't think they expected outrage
    from the public. The public is really cross because we try our level
    best to provide service."

    Plato vowed to "continue to do what is in the best interests of the
    citizens of Cape Town living in those conditions".

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