||Numsa Press Statement
NUMSA 8 September 2013
For immediate release
1. Three (3) week-long auto industry strike;
The Numsa Special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on 4th September 2013 resolved to recommend to striking Numsa members in the national auto industry strike to accept a strike settlement offer on the following terms;
• A wage increase and cash adjustments amounting to;
- 11.5% for 2013
- 10% for 2014
- 10% for 2015
By way of an example, increases would look as follows:
Year ATB Once-off R3.22 Total Increase
Year 1 10% R2 225 (once-off lump sum) 11.5%
Year 2 8.5% R2 225 (once-off lump sum) R1.07 on 30 June 2014 10.0%
Year 3 8.5% R2 225 (once off lump sum) R1.07 on 30 June 2015 10.0%
R1.07 on 30 June 2016
When short-time is implemented an employee will be paid 30% of his/her basic daily wage.
• Shift allowance:
Existing shift premiums/allowances paid in respect of night shift work which commences before and ends after midnight, shall increase by an amount equivalent to 1% of the basic hourly rate applicable to employees working such shift. This would effectively take the shift allowance to 20% of the base hourly rate of pay for employees.
• Transport allowance:
A R1200 transport allowance shall be paid to all employees per annum
• Medical aid and housing allowance:
NUMSA and AMEO have agreed to establish a joint task team to investigate an industry medical aid and housing scheme.
Numsa membership at 5 out of the 7 auto manufacturing plants endorsed the Numsa NEC strike settlement recommendation. The Numsa National Office Bearers are working with our members at Toyota in Durban and BMW in Pretoria to attend to the specific issues which make our membership unhappy to accept the offer. A return to work commences on Monday 9th September 2013.
2. National Motor Industry Strike:
As per the resolution of the Numsa NEC, the National Office Bearers with our bargaining team in the motor industry attempted to exchange settlement proposals with the motor employers on 5 September 2013.
Regrettably the employers took a very irresponsible stance by pulling back from the engagement which was intended to avert a national strike. Employers were unhappy with Numsa’s decision to issue a 48 hour notice.
Under these circumstances Numsa resolved to proceed with strike action commencing on Monday 9th September 2013 to push for improvements in respect of the following core demands, amongst others;
• Double digit increases
• Amending the industry peace clause
• Shift Allowance
• Banning Labour Brokers
The strike commences with marches on Monday 9th September 2013 in Cape Town and Randburg respectively. Marches elsewhere in the country shall be staggered throughout the week.
The Gauteng march shall be led by the Numsa GS, Numsa 1st Deputy President and DGS whilst the Cape Town march shall be led by the Numsa National Treasurer.
The March in the Western Cape shall proceed as follows;
• Gathering at 11h00 on Monday 9th September 2013 at the Numsa Regional Office at Bellville in Voortrekker Road (opposite the magistrate’s court) and
• Proceed at 12h00 to the RMI Offices in Picton Street, Parow.
The Numsa march in Randburg, Gauteng shall proceed as follows;
• Gathering at 09h00 at Ferndale Park
• The march starts at 10h00 to the offices of RMI in Surrey Avenue
• At 13h00 the march proceeds to FRA offices at 276 Oak Street
• The march disperses at 14h00
3. Latest developments in Cosatu and the Alliance:
On Tuesday 10th September 2013 Numsa’s application, calling for the Cosatu Special CEC decisions of 14th August 2013 to be set aside, shall be heard in the South Gauteng High Court. The matter is sub judice and we shall therefore await the ruling of the High Court.
We take courage from many more Cosatu affiliates that are joining Numsa’s call and our request that the Cosatu President convene a Special National Congress to deal with the crises in Cosatu.
We have noted the unprovoked attack of the Mpumalanga SACP Provincial Working Committee (PWC) on Numsa and its General Secretary. We expect these sustained attacks to continue from other SACP provinces. A formal reply has been finalised and is now the subject of ratification by the Numsa National Office Bearers in the coming week.
The ANC Secretary General has now shown his true factional colours when he defined the Numsa General Secretary as a lone voice within Cosatu and ostensibly within NUMSA.
We have repeatedly stated that once the Numsa constitutional structures have resolved on any matter, the Numsa General Secretary becomes the champion or spokesperson of such decisions.
Instead of engaging with the neo-liberal National Development Plan which would be disastrous for the working class and the poor if it becomes the foundation of the ANC’s Election Manifesto, Comrade Gwede Mantashe chooses to campaign for the isolation of the Numsa General Secretary.
We reject with the contempt it deserves the endeavor to isolate Numsa and its leadership.
We salute the membership of SATAWU, NUM, CWU and other unions in their gallant fight and struggle to achieve a living wage in the context of the triple crises of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Irvin Jim, General Secretary, 0731576384
Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary, 0833890777
Residents dig up ‘death road’ - report
IOL News 5 September 2013
Angry residents of Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape dug up a road after a child was hit by a car and killed there, the DispatchOnline reported on Thursday.
The villagers dug up the road on Wednesday following the death of Unam Dingela, five, in Zone 18 the previous day.
A bakkie hit Dingela and his cousin, five-year-old Esothando Nasho as they crossed the road on their way home from school.
Nasho survived, but was bruised in the accident.
Residents complained that motorists frequently sped along the road and that four pedestrians had been killed after being knocked down by cars.
The villagers appealed to Buffalo City Metro (BCM) to install speed bumps and build a pavement, but these failed to materialise. Following Dingela's death they dug the road up themselves, forcing motorists to use alternate routes.
Arrive Alive spokesman Tshepo Machaea said police were investigating a case of culpable homicide, but no arrests had been made.
BCM spokesman Thandy Matebese said: “A tender for the traffic calming structures is being considered and implementation will be done according to the priority list as soon as the tender is awarded”. - Sapa
Nzimande welcomes end of WSU strike
IOL News 6 September 2013
Johannesburg - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has welcomed unions' decision to end a six-week long strike at Walter Sisulu University.
“We commend university management and the unions for demonstrating leadership by ensuring that the decisions made take into consideration the long-term viability of the university and do not threaten the significant gains made over the past two years,” Nzimande said in a statement on Friday.
Workers were expected to return on Monday, when classes would resume.
Workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) embarked on a protest on July 23 demanding a 10 percent increase.
Nehawu said the agreement reached would result in workers receiving a five percent annual increase backdated to January 1.
An audit firm would also be appointed to audit the process of migration to new salary scales. Any errors found with the initial process would be dealt with retrospectively.
“It was also agreed that a once-off opportunity to migrate to a preferred retirement fund will be accorded to members of staff and that presentations will be done to enable staff to make an informed choice,” Nehawu said.
Higher education director general Gwebs Qonde recently said the university could afford to pay staff, including lecturers, only 4.25 percent more.
He said the university was technically and commercially bankrupt, as was found by an administrator, who was appointed in June 2011 .
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the problems leading to the indefinite closure of the institution last Wednesday.
The closure was announced after volatility associated with the strike.
WSU spokeswoman Angela Church confirmed that the strike was over and that discussions on the implementations of proposals were underway. - Sapa
Marikana survivors to march for funding
IOL News 6 September 2013
Johannesburg - Survivors and families of the victims of the Marikana massacre will march to the Union Buildings next week because of the government’s refusal to pay their legal fees at the Farlam Commission.
The march is scheduled for September 12 - the day on which Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko was killed by the apartheid regime exactly 36 years ago.
South African Council of Churches president Jo Seoka, who testified at the commission, is the convener of the march.
“I was so touched by the (Marikana massacre) commemoration service when the workers passed around buckets to make a collection towards the funding of their legal team. This indicated their (quest) for justice and fairness,” Seoka said during a media briefing in Joburg on Thursday.
He was flanked by some of the survivors of the massacre and representatives from various newly formed solidarity groups, including the Marikana Support Campaign and Citizens for Marikana.
It was also revealed that more than R17 000 was raised during the commemoration day event.
“Although this (amount) is not enough, it symbolises the desperation of the workers and the community of Marikana for the truth.
“(Justice Minister) Jeff Radebe revealed last week that the government has put aside R115 million for the Marikana commission, but it is not prepared to spend even one cent for the victims, who are poor citizens,” Seoka added.
On Thursday, organisers appealed to South Africans to show their support to the victims and their families by joining the march and donating cash towards their legal fees.
A trust fund account, called the Marikana Dignity Trust, has been registered. Details will be released at the weekend.
Seoka said the long-term objectives of the trust fund “go beyond the commission into the restoration of the dignity of the victims, their families and their communities”.
This, he said, included the general welfare and education of the survivors’ widows and children.
Seoka emphasised, however, that the setting up of the trust fund was not intended to absolve the government of its responsibility to fund the survivors’ and families’ legal fees.
One of the surviving mineworkers, Mzoxolo Magidiwana, told of workers’ frustration and pain at the government’s refusal to fund their legal fees. He is still walking with crutches.
“Our government has a case (to answer). If it is that it’s us who were wrong, let the truth come out.
“They don’t want to assist because they want to hide the truth,” Magidiwana said.
He added: “I don’t know why the government is trying to hide this, because a person’s blood cannot be hidden.
“Why is it that they are not willing to help us but are helping the police? If Mandela was still the president, all of this wouldn’t have happened.”
NUM strikers shut down building sites
Murray Williams and Yolisa Tswanya 6 September 2013
Cape Town - Strikers armed with whips and knobkieries had several construction sites closed in the Helderberg - including large residential and retail centre projects near Somerset Mall.
At one point police used stun grenades to disperse a group of protesters. About 200 strikers arrived at the De Beers Avenue area shortly before noon and demanded that construction halt at a residential apartment development.
The strikers, from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), demanded that the workers inside join them.
The managers agreed to halt construction, on condition that the workers who had chosen to work were not harmed.
After 30 minutes, workers on the site - many who appeared to be terrified - walked off the site and across the road to join the striking workers. Many of the workers first armed themselves with anything resembling a weapon to appear as if they had always been part of the strike.
Work also ceased on a new shopping development which is to house a mega Checkers store next to Somerset Mall.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed that police dispersed a group of protesters in Somerset West yesterday.
“Three stun grenades were used to disperse striking construction workers in Somerset West. Strike action was monitored by the police in a number of areas and we will remain on high alert to maintain law and order.”
Traut added that areas affected by the striking workers were being patrolled by the police.
Strikes forced the closure of Hindle Road in Delft on Thursday, and police also responded to strike action in Old Faure Road, Lwandle, Borcherds Quarry and the Strand.
No arrests were reported.
Happiness Holiday, the Western Cape general secretary for the NUM, said negotiations between workers and employers were to go on until midnight. He said on Thursday night: “Hopefully I will be briefed before midnight on what happened and we will clearly know what happened by today.
“In the morning we will hold a meeting to discuss the outcome of last night’s meeting. The fact that they are taking long means there is a lot of revising going on.”
The NUM is demanding a 13-percent increase for this year and 14 percent for next year.
Employers are offering 10-percent increase for the lowest-paid workers and eight-percent increase for higher-earning workers, with inflation-linked increases next year.
The three comrades arrested for public violence were bailed out last night
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press statement
6 September 2013
Yesterday three Abahlali baseMjondolo members were arrested after Bellair Road was blockaded in protest at more illegal and violent evictions in Cato Crest. These evictions violated the law, the Constitution and an order of the court. The three comrades who were arrested are Sibongile, Nokulunga and Mr Mzinhle.
After the arrests the leadership of Cato Crest branch, together with the Abahlali baseMjondolo leadership, went to the Cato Manor Police Station to negotiate bail for our comrades. We were glad to have secured police bail for them without any objection from the police. The three comrades who were arrested are Sibongile, Nokulunga and Mr Mzinhle.
We Are Under Attack in Cato Crest!
Abahlali baseMjondolo Pres statement
5 September 2013
Ethekwini Municipality violates Court Order Again
Despite both an undertaking and an Order of Court issued by Durban High Court
the eThekwini Municipality is demolishing Cato Crest shacks right now.
Comrades are under attack in their own homes.
They have told the residents that they are the ruling party and nobody and
nothing will stop them from ruling the city in the manner they want to.
People are have taken to the streets in protest. The tyres are burning and
Bellair Road has been closed. Comrades are also under attack on the road
blockade but the blockade is holding so far.
We request the media to rush to Cato Crest now.
Ndabo Mzimela 072 4015974
Lindiwe 072 7493696
Our Movement is Under Attack
Abahlali baseCato Crest Press Statement
2 September 2013
The eThekwini Municipality's Land Invasion Unit has again demolished shacks and evicted residents in Cato Crest without a Court Order. This is despite the undertaking made before the Durban High Court that they will not demolish any shacks in Cato Crest pending the final court decision. They demolished on Sunday and again this today. This morning they demolished 15 shacks, 8 of them were the homes of people who where among those who secured an interim court order preventing the destruction of their homes. The few bullies running this municipality are rendering it a criminal municipality with no respect for the poor, for democracy or the rule the law.
Yesterday they said they were not finished with us. Today they still say they are not finished with us. They say that they will rule us whether we like it or not. They say that they will use all their power to force us to accept their rule. This is black power used in the same way as the white power of Dr Verwoed.
This morning ANC Councilor Mzimuni Ngiba called the ANC members in Cato Crest to a meeting at the local sport ground to plan and discuss this eviction. S’bu Zikode was the main subject in this meeting, just as Nkululeko Gwala was the main subject of the meeting called by the ANC in the area on the 26th of June. Gwala was assassinated on the same day.
Ngiba has declared war on Abahlali members. His comrades insist that they have fought and died for this country and that it is therefore their turn to rule even if that means that they must rule without regard for law.
In today's attack three people including women have been shot by municipal security with rubber bullets. Abahlali comrades have rushed them to hospital. "Engabe kanti sesiyabulawa ngempela uhulumeni wethu” “are we really being killed by our own government”, cried one woman.
The evictions in Cato Crest started as ethnic evictions. They are now political evictions.
The war on our movement is a war on democracy.
We urge the media to rush to Cato Crest now.
Makwasa, Abahlali baseMjondolo member in Cato Crest on 071 8455214
Scelo, Abahlali baseMjondolo member in Cato Crest, 076 3903642/083 6654618
Ndabo Mzimela, Abahlali baseMjondolo Cato Crest Chairperso
Protest closes road in Piketberg
IOL News 4 September 2013
Cape Town - A service delivery protest resulted in the N7 being closed at Piketberg on Wednesday afternoon, Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said.
“There were about 60 protesters burning tyres on the road and we had to close the N7 on both sides of the circle, redirecting traffic through Piketberg,” he said.
“The protest is apparently all about housing problems.”
Africa said the tyres had since been cleared and SA National Roads Agency Ltd staff were cleaning the road surface.
The road, which had been closed since around noon, was expected to reopen later on Wednesday.
Lt-Col Andre Traut said no arrests had been made.
“Our operational members are deployed in the area,” he said. - Sapa
Petrol attendants attacked by strikers
Cape Argus 5 September 2013
Cape Town - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Western Cape admits that preventing “scab” labourers from getting to work and shutting down operations at construction sites forms part of its members’ strategy in the ongoing industrial action.
But Happiness Holiday, the NUM’s Western Cape general secretary, said these strategies needed to be employed peacefully according to the union’s rules. It was against the rules to use violence or assault, to gain illegal entry to a construction site and to vandalise assets.
The Cape Argus contacted Holiday after viewing CCTV footage of strikers descending on an Engen petrol station on the corner of Hindle Road and the R300, which is a known pick-up point for workers between 5am and 6am.
Staff at the Engen painted a picture of momentary chaos and violence in the minutes before police arrived.
The footage shows men, some in balaclavas, armed with sticks, knobkieries and pickaxe handles, arriving at the petrol station shortly after 6am. They speak to petrol attendants and point this way and that with their sticks
“At first things seemed calm,” said an employee who asked not to be named. “But then they started threatening people and smashing some of the bakkies at the pumps. We were scared so we ran inside.”
Subsequent footage shows half a dozen men running for the door of the Engen’s shop to escape stick-wielding protesters. Some of the men are assaulted.
Soon the doors jam (presumably after being locked from the inside) and an unarmed man is left pulling and banging on the door as he tries to escape the attackers. Unsuccessful, he runs off into the darkness of the veld alongside the shop.
Later, employees told the Cape Argus, attackers pried open the shop’s doors, but by then the people inside had barricaded themselves behind a security door inside the shop.
“One man was not so lucky,” an employee told the Cape Argus.
“He was beaten very badly and taken into the veld, away from the lights, by four men. I do not know what they did to him there, but it was a few moments before the police arrived. All the strikers scattered then, and I think that that man would have been killed if the police had not arrived just then.”
Two bakkies were damaged and one had to be towed away.
Presented with these details, Holiday said union members were not acting on instruction from the NUM when perpetrating acts of violence or criminality.
Police confirmed “unrest” related to the strike in several areas early on Wednesday. Hindle Road in Delft was closed for several hours during peak traffic hours. Police also responded to flare-ups in the Old Faure Road, Lwandle, Borcherds Quarry and the Strand. There were no arrests.
Holiday said there was no evidence to suggest that NUM members were behind the violence, adding NUM members were often blamed for the transgressions of other unions, particularly those of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), owing to the similarity of the unions’ names.
The City of Cape Town said 50 striking workers, some in Numsa T-shirts, had invaded a construction site office in Heideveld where government houses were being refurbished.
Some of the contract staff were assaulted. Three people suffered “fairly serious” injuries and were taken to hospital. Numsa has denied that its members were behind the assault.
The violence against ordinary workers - allegedly by striking civil engineering contractors – has been slammed as “deplorable”.
In numerous places across greater Cape Town on Wednesday, workers were intimidated, prevented from leaving their suburbs for work and, in some cases, violently assaulted.
Michael Bagraim, chairman of the human capital portfolio committee at the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reported that many of these victims had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the civil engineering or construction industries – and were still being targeted.
“This is deplorable, and must be a first. People are being accused of being scab labour when they have nothing whatsoever to do with this strike or this industry.”
Asked about the effect of the strike on business, Bagraim said companies were losing money in lost working hours, and these delays came on top of delays from the recent wild winter weather.
But despite low turnouts by workers, construction was continuing on many sites.
Sources told the Cape Argus there were simply too many civil engineering construction sites for the strikers to man.
“The real cost is to the ordinary people who are prevented from earning a living,” Bagraim said.
The strike involved two unions, the National Union of Mineworkers and the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union (Bcawu). Bcawu struck a deal with the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) on Monday, which will remain operational until August 31, 2016.
“The accepted offer allows for a 10 percent wage increase for categories Task Grade 1 to 4 and 8 percent wage increase for categories Task Grade 5 to 9. In addition, severance benefits for the industry were also improved,” Safcec reported.
Strike violence is ‘deplorable’ although Holiday was reluctant to say that NUM was not in charge of its striking members, a picture of relative regional autonomy in decision-making by striking workers emerged.
Divided according to their place of residence – as opposed to the companies they worked for – members have formed groups that have met daily in their neighbourhoods. They seem to be taking their cues from shop stewards local to their areas. Holiday, however, maintained that these leaders took instruction from and reported back to head office during the day.
Provincial representatives from NUM will meet in Johannesburg on Thursday in an attempt to soften their demands before continuing negotiations with employers.
The NUM is demanding a 13-percent increase for this year and 14 percent for next year. Employers are offering a 10-percent increase for the lowest-paid workers and an eight-percent increase for higher-earning workers, with inflation-linked increases next year.
Additional reporting by Murray Williams.
Joburg crippled by power sabotage
Anna Cox, Shaun Smillie, Charlotte Chipangura and Lesego Makgatho 6 September 2013
Johannesburg - Joburg on Thursday night was a city being held to ransom as contractors battled to bring online substations sabotaged by striking City Power officials.
On Thursday night, security guards were placed around substations to prevent illegal strikers extending the blackout to more suburbs.
City Power confirmed there had been sabotage to the electricity network, precipitating major outages throughout the city on Thursday.
Hloni Motloung, media consultant for City Power, said investigations had confirmed the outages were the result of workers on an illegal strike deliberately disconnecting electricity to many suburbs.
By early Thursday evening, a technical team and contractors had restored power to the Hursthill, Mayfair, Alexandra and Cydna substations.
The process of restoring power to each substation takes several hours, said Motloung.
He would not say when power would be fully restored to the city.
The electrical crisis started when about 100 City Power employees embarked on an illegal strike on Wednesday afternoon.
The strike is over proposed shift changes.
Earlier on Thursday, City Power obtained a court order to interdict the strikers.
Motloung said the legal costs would be deducted from the individuals’ salaries.
Meanwhile, some of Joburg’s citizens had to endure yet another night in the dark.
Bramley Park resident Roy Wilson, who lives in a complex, said his area had been without power for two days.
He is the only one in the complex who has a generator and had already spent R250 on petrol.
“I am trying to help my neighbours charge their phones and boil water for a cup of tea,” he said.
An infuriated Sheraz Carrin, of Emmarentia, said his asthmatic son is on a nebuliser and needs electricity.
“I personally went to the City Power premises and asked for them to switch the power on. They told me there was nothing wrong with the electricity, it was off because they are on strike and will not turn it back on,” he said.
“What happens if someone dies because of this spiteful action?” he asked.
Cresta shopping mall in Randburg looked like a ghost town on Thursday afternoon.
Sitting in her candlelit store, the owner of Honey Boutique, Louisa Fairweather, described the power outage as very disappointing.
“This is our busiest time when we are supposed to rake in a lot of money. We have matric dresses to prepare and alter, and there are some dances taking place on Saturday,” said Fairweather.
Joburg metro police spokeswoman Inspector Edna Mamonyane said the citywide outages had caused serious traffic gridlock on Thursday morning.
* While some Joburg residents had to contend with no power, others were experiencing water shortages.
According to Johannesburg Water, some areas of the city, including parts of Northcliff, were without water or experiencing low tap pressure as power outages had prevented water from being pumped into water towers.
Late Thursday night, City Power said it had restored power to the Hursthill and Mayfair substations that supply the Auckland Park, Bosmont, Crosby, Emmarentia, Mayfair, Northcliff, Rosebank, Riverlea and Westdene areas, as well as the Cydna, Alexandra and Gresswold substations, which supply the Atholl, Alexandra, Bramley, Hyde Park, Melrose, Riverpark, Tsutsumani and Wynberg areas.
Management blamed for Joburg power crisis
IOL News 6 September 2013
Joburg City Power employees on strike
Johannesburg - City Power’s striking technicians, currently holding the city to ransom through widespread electricity outages, have been claiming an average of R100 000 a month on overtime.
This was revealed on Friday morning when City Power spokesman Hloni Motloung confirmed the power utility spends an average of R1.2 million a year for each technician on overtime pay. There are about a 100 technicians in its employ.
“That’s what our MD Sicelo Xulu said on Friday morning,” Motloung said on Friday morning, referring to information given out by Xulu, whose current overseas trip has been cut short by the ongoing electricity crisis.
He said management was meeting the striking workers on Friday morning. They were still in the meeting at the time of publication.
City Power’s acting managing director Louis Pieterse said it was the refusal by striking workers to even enter discussions over proposed changes to working hours which had led to the strike.
Pieterse admitted that the outlook for the weekend was bleak for residents without electricity.
“Ja, I’m afraid if staff were just willing to talk I think we can get to a solution,” he told Talk Radio 702.
Some workers downed tools in an unprotected strike on Wednesday and allegedly sabotaged sub-stations over dissatisfaction with new working hours which would see employees work shifts.
“The reaction was they don’t want shifts – they don’t even want to discuss it,” Pieterse said.
He also said that the shift policy had been agreed on by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu).
Pieterse said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration had given the unions the option to exercise strike action over the shifts in March, which they had not done.
“It’s not something that suddenly happened,” said Pieterse.
Meanwhile a cold, dry, dark weekend is looming for some Joburg residents caught up in the crippling blackouts. Reported estimates are at least 30 000 people are without electricity – some of them having been without power for well over 24 hours. And now the knock-on effect has led to water outages.
Joburg Water confirmed on Friday morning Northcliff and Constantia Kloof had no water because the lack of power meant water could not be pumped from the towers.
Joburg Water spokeswoman Millicent Kabwe said water supply to Constantia Kloof had been restored because they managed to use a generator on Friday night, but that the situation in Northcliff was not so simple.
“We’d need a much bigger generator which we don’t have,” Kabwe said, but confirmed that they were looking for one on Friday.
“Some areas may already be experiencing water shortages or a decrease in pressure,” Joburg Water announced on Thursday.
As reports emerged of emergency water tankers being deployed to affected parts of the city like Northcliff, other reports suggested certain reservoirs had already run out of water.
Samwu said on Friday morning the strike was not sanctioned by them. “We apologise to the communities for whatever has happened but it is not Samwu that has caused this,” said spokeswoman Phumlile Shange.
The shift policy had already been postponed from September 1 to November 1 as Pieterse said the utility was “not 100 percent ready for implementation”.
Shange said the union had been working with City Power management about the shift system and they would now “need to relook at certain clauses” in the agreement.
She also denied Samwu members could have been involved in sabotage. “We are not going to accept that our members could do such a thing,” Shange said.
Pieterse said City Power had “no choice” but to implement the shift system because they needed to work around the clock.
He said the old system had technicians working a standard 7am to 4pm weekday, but were then paid overtime for work done outside these hours. He said this was an unnecessarily expensive system, and the overtime pay could be better spent on hiring extra staff and introducing a shift roster.
This, he admitted, would mean those who were currently working a lot of extra hours would end up earning less money once the shift system was introduced.
The ward councillor for Parkhurst, Tim Truluck, said that although he was frustrated at City Power and the action the strikers took, he did have empathy for them because of poor management.
“It’s like a Porsche trying to drive down a bumpy old road,” he said.
Joburg mayor Parks Tau has failed to speak on the issue, despite several calls for him to address the city on the crisis.
Meanwhile Joburgers battled to deal with the ongoing outages on Friday morning. In Emmarentia robots were out, but pointsmen were on duty. At a small shopping complex in Emmarentia, many shops were unable to open.
Kevin Cousins, owner of the Barney’s Paint store, said he was upset because he has lost a lot of money. He said power at his shop went off at about 6am on Thursday and he had lost R30 000 in business so far. “This is terrible. I hope this problem is going to be resolved soon. I have hired a generator but it can’t help me that much because it can only run half the shop,” Cousins lamented.
The owner of Jimmy’s Killer Fish and Chips, Saheema Omar, said she had lost R40 000 worth of stock. “The power outage has finished us,” said Omar, shaking her head.
Joburg City Power employees on strike
Business Report 4 September 2013
Johannesburg - Employees of Johannesburg City Power went on a strike on Wednesday afternoon, said officials.
A couple of hundred workers downed tools late in the afternoon, said spokesman Louis Pieterse.
“They worked during the day and downed tools at 4pm, saying they won't work after hours,” he said.
Pieterse said City Power was in the process of introducing shifts to its work rosters to improve service delivery.
He said this was because workers were sometimes needed to attend to outages after normal working hours.
“Unfortunately, there is a certain level of resistance by some employees which has resulted in unlawful work stoppages,” he said.
The workers were striking in their own capacities, and not under the auspices of a union.
Meanwhile, several areas in Johannesburg were without power.
Pieterse said the outages were widespread, but there was nothing serious to blame.
“We are experiencing some delays in response times and restoration times.... Contractors have been appointed to restore the power,” he said. - Sapa
Numsa strike underway in Pretoria CBD
Look Local 3 September 2013
A total of 11 000 NUMSA workers were expected to march in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Thousands of members of the Metal workers union, NUMSA were on Tuesday expected to gather at the Old Putco bus depot in Kgosi Mampuru (Potgieter) street in Pretoria, from where they will march to the offices of NAAMSA.
National Spokesperson, Castro Ngobese said workers will converge at Old PUTCO depot in Kgosi Mampuru (Potgieter) street around 09:00 before they march militantly to the NAAMSA Offices, on the corner of Stanza Bopape and Steve Biko streets where they will hand-over a Memorandum of Demands.
This forms part of their on-going strike for higher wages in the automotive production sector.
NUMSA says that thousands of workers will take part in today's march through the Pretoria CBD.
"National Treasurer of NUMSA, Mpumzi Maqungo will be leading a march of 11 000 workers, cheaply-exploited and underpaid in the Automobile sector to hand-over the memorandum," Ngobese said in a statement.
According to reports a strong police contingent are monitoring the situation. A water cannon is also on standby, should the crowd turn violent.
The union last week said its 72000 members at petrol stations, components retailers, panel beaters, car and spare parts dealers, fitment workshops, and dealerships would "unleash all our power by halting production".
Numsa's demands include a R30 an hour pay increase across the board in all sectors by 2016 for workers earning more than R6000, a night-shift allowance of 20% of the normal rate of pay, and an afternoon shift allowance of 15%.
Sadtu teachers disrupt trial exams
Leanne Jansen 3 September 2013
Members of the South African Democratic Teachers' Union prevented trial exam question papers from being collected in KwaZulu-Natal.
Durban - It is one of the most important times for matric pupils, second only to writing the final matric exams. But on Monday members of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union prevented trial exam question papers from being collected in KwaZulu-Natal.
Grade 12 accounting and history pupils were sent home or made to write past papers after Sadtu made good on threats to disrupt the trial exams, blockading access to question paper distribution centres in Umlazi and Chatsworth.
Teachers at a high school in Stanger said that Sadtu members had “stormed” the premises and torn up question papers, while a high school in Kokstad decided to postpone the trial exams.
There are fears that the Annual National Assessments for primary schools, scheduled to begin next Tuesday, will also be compromised.
Grade 12 pupils are meant to sit for a maths exam on Tuesday.
While Sadtu KZN secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said the union had embarked on work-to-rule action, in several schools there had been a complete chalk-down.
The union, which claims 60 000 members in KZN alone, is demanding that provincial Education Department head Nkosinathi Sishi and chief financial officer Hlengiwe Mcuma be suspended.
Chief among its grievances are:
* The refunding of money that was docked from the salaries of teachers who participated in an unprotected strike in 2010.
* An outstanding pay hike for Adult Basic Education and Training teachers.
* The filling of 800 vacant subject adviser posts.
The principal of an uMlazi school told The Mercury that while he had been told that Sadtu had called for protest action to start, he had not expected that it would involve preventing him from collecting accounting and history question papers.
His pupils had remained at school to study and would continue to do so.
Another principal in the same area said a KZN Education Department official had told him he had been instructed not to distribute exam question papers.
The principal said he had opted for plan B, which was to have his pupils write past Grade 12 trial exam papers, or past Grade 12 supplementary papers.
He added that some teachers would be relieved that the exams had been disrupted, because it would not be revealed how big a chunk of the Grade 12 curriculum they had failed to teach.
A Chatsworth principal said that while he empathised with Sadtu, “children are being compromised”.
“The pupils are even more anxious now.” He had had to send his Grade 12 pupils home and his staff were considering setting their own exam question papers - as is the case at Durban’s more affluent schools.
Vee Gani, of the Parents Association of KZN, said he had fielded several phone calls from parents and school governing body members over principals being barred from collecting the Grade 12 question papers and teachers refusing to invigilate.
“There are better ways to solve problems than using children as pawns,” Gani said. He urged parents to challenge the situation.
Asked whether SMSes doing the rounds, stating that the trial exams had been postponed, were an instruction from the head of department, KZN Education Department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said in an SMS that the department did not operate schools via SMS.
At 6.30pm on Tuesday, Sadtu and the department were still in crisis talks. He could not say how many schools had been affected, adding that a report was still being compiled.
Asked about Sadtu’s grievances and how exams would proceed on Tuesday, Mahlambi said that when the marathon meeting was over, the department would issue a statement.
Allen Thompson, the deputy head of the National Teachers Union, and Anthony Pierce, the KZN head of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, said their organisations would not join the industrial action.
90 000 construction workers remain on strike, secondary strike to hit Nkomati mine
NUM 2 September 2013
The strike by 90 000 members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has today entered into its second week affecting major construction companies such as WBHO, Group Five, Aveng, Murray & Roberts, Stocks & Stocks and many more. The strike will spill over to Nkomati mine in Limpopo after the NUM issued a notice for a secondary strike. The notice follows the refusal by MCC Nkomati Joint Venture to accede to the demands of the construction workers at Nkomati mine. MCC Nkomati Joint Venture is a construction company based at Nkomati mine in Machadodorp, Mpumalanga and is owned by African Rainbow Minerals. “We have notified the mine of our intention to embark on a secondary strike action in support of the construction workers. This is lawful and we will begin our strike on Friday, the 6th of September” says William Mabapa, the NUM Regional Secretary in the North East Region.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers has rejected the 8 and 10% offered by the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC), the employer body representing construction companies on the basis that the offer does not raise the minimum wages from R4400 to R5500 as demanded by members. The strike continues and major construction projects have come to a halt.
For further information, please contact:
William Mabapa- 082 414 8276
Lesiba Seshoka (Spokesman)
National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
Tel: 011 377 2047
Cell: 082 803 6719
South Africa: Over Thousand Women March to End Gender Based Violence in Mpumalanga
allAfrica 2 September 2013
About one thousand women have presented a memorandum to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government in a bid to end gender based violence. The marchers comprised of women from Independent organisations, civil society, organised labour, faith based organisation and the community.
They marched from Man N4 Bus and Truck Depot to Mbombela Stadium where they handed over a memorandum to Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe who was representing Premier DD Mabuza.
The march was part of Women's Month planned activities to enhance government's efforts to reach out to all women and support their economic empowerment and social emancipation.
Among others, they raised concerns about the number of gender based violence cases which were increasing habitually hence there was a need to sustain the campaign on violence against women and children for 365 days of a year.
They also called for government to provide enough resources to court systems to improve investigations of sexual offence cases in order to enhance conviction rate of rape and murder perpetrators in order to bring about justice to victims of gender based violence.
The marchers have also requested government to establish a hotline for the community to report all matters relating to gender based violence.
Speaking during the handover of the memorandum, Ms Wandile Sobahle who represented the Organised Labour said that unemployment of women highly contributed to them being vulnerable to abuse.
She said that government must create an environment which will empower women and provide them with job opportunities in order to make them independent.
Meanwhile, MEC Shongwe said that women must be respected and recognized not only during the Women's month or during 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children but every day.
He added that the provincial government has already embarked on a 365 days year plan to promote the campaign of No Violence Against Women and Children.
Issued by: Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison
Tribalism behind Malamulele protest - Premier
IOL News 3 September 2013
Johannesburg - Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha has blamed the violent protests that erupted in the Thulamela local municipality this week on tribalism.
A Sapa correspondent reported that the Malamulele community went on the rampage on Monday, damaging property including a grader, truck, six cars, two public store rooms, 37 houses, and four offices belonging to the public works department.
The protesters demanded their own municipality, separate from the Thulamela municipality.
“We are calling for the community of Malamulele to refrain from using tribalism elements in their demand,” said Mathabatha's spokesman Kenny Mathivha.
Mathivha acknowledged that the Malamulele people had been demanding their own municipality for many years.
He said it was not the competency of the provincial government to demarcate, but that of the Demarcation Board.
“The Demarcation Board is in the process of resolving their problems and they will know the answer very soon.
“South Africa is not a federal government, but a constitutional democracy. We can't see people damaging the infrastructure in 20
years of democracy. Yes, they should voice their concerns, but not become violent,” he said.
The Thulamela local municipality is divided into two predominant groups, mainly Venda and Tsonga-speaking.
The differences in language are also known to arise within the municipal council.
Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the violent protest involved about 15,000 community members.
“More than 15,000 people went on a rampage on Monday morning, damaging and looting shops.
“Four of their shopping complexes were damaged and looted completely; they damaged 37 houses, burnt a grader, a truck, and lit six cars.
“We also managed to stop them from burning the local hospital, and we had to use force... On Monday they kept us fully busy for the whole day and we had to use rubber bullets to stop them,” he said.
Mulaudzi said 51 people were arrested and charged with public violence. They were expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
The situation was “calm” on Tuesday but police were monitoring. - Sapa
Malamulele protesters arrested
2 September 2 2013
Malamulele, Limpopo - A total of 65 protesters were arrested for public violence in Malamulele, Limpopo, on Monday, police said.
Protesters burned the public works regional offices and five vehicles, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
“The local Masingita shopping complex has been completely looted,” he said.
Damage was estimated at R3 million.
Mulaudzi said the situation was tense, and he advised motorists to avoid roads leading to Giyani and Thohoyandou.
Residents were demanding their own municipality.
They gathered along main streets, and barricaded the roads leading to Thohoyandou and Giyani with stones and burning tyres
Those arrested were expected to appear soon in the Manamulele Magistrate's Court. - Sapa
Tempers flare as Riverview occupants stand firm
Lungelo Mkamba and Sphelele Ngubane 3 September 2013
Durban - A private low-cost housing estate in Cato Manor that has been hijacked by people who refuse to pay rent, and who have chased away those who do, resembled a battle zone on Monday after they ignored a court order for them to leave.
To prevent police and security guards from removing them, the illegal occupiers padlocked the gates of the Riverview complex and positioned tyres, doused in a flammable liquid, around the buildings.
They threatened to set them alight if the sheriff forced them out.
They refuse to pay rent because, they say, they were promised they would be able to buy the units.
Police used teargas to disperse the crowds at 6am.
They were defiant, saying they were prepared to “die” rather than leave.
However, their attorney, Senzo Ngwane, conceded on Monday that the legal route had been exhausted and they needed to make arrangements to leave.
But still women sprinkled muti at the main gate to “confuse” police and guards if they stepped inside.
Riverview is owned by Sohco Property Investments which built several complexes in Durban and other cities with the idea of marketing them as affordable and quality homes for families earning between R2 500 and R7 500 a month.
In January, Durban High Court Judge Jerome Mnguni issued an order against the illegal occupiers and told them to vacate the development.
This ended years of legal action instituted by Sohco Property Investments against the tenants and others in two other other housing schemes in Durban in which it had invested hundreds of millions.
Two years ago, when Sohco launched the eviction applications in all its projects, it was owed R9.5 million in rent and there were concerns it would be forced into liquidation.
In court papers Sohco said it had invested R75m in the 330 two-bedroomed unit complex at Riverview, but that the estate had been hijacked by gangsters who were knocking down walls, chasing out lawful tenants and taking rent from others.
On Monday, Sohco chief executive Heather Maxwell urged the illegal tenants to move out voluntarily, failing which “evictions will have to take place”.
The head of the eThekwini Municipality’s housing committee, Nigel Gumede, said he was aware of the matter, but that it “had nothing to do with the municipality” because the flats were privately owned.
“If we intervene, we will not look at them as an evicted group, but on (individual) independent assessments to check if they qualify for RDP houses or not,” he said.
The illegal tenants said they were waiting for ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala to address them. Pleas to Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay to intervene also fell on deaf ears.
Their spokesman, who said he did not want to be named as he was a government employee, denied that they were paying him or anyone else rent. Contributions were to pay their attorney, he said.
Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said no arrests had been made.
It was unclear when evictions would take place.
Numsa strike on hold, construction strike continues
2 September 2013
A PLANNED strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in the motor industry has been put on hold, while strike action in the construction sector continued on Monday.
Numsa had not issued an official notice of strike to motor industry employers, Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said. When the employer bodies heard of the intention to strike, they expressed a "willingness to further negotiate".
"We will meet with the Fuel Retailers’ Association (FRA) and Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the workers’ demands." Mr Ngobese indicated the union and employers had met since last week’s strike announcement and the meetings were positive.
"We are not a strike-frenzy union, we support the process of constructive negotiating," Mr Ngobese said.
If talks fell flat, 72,000 petrol attendants and motor industry employees would down tools on September 9.
Last week, Numsa said talks in July had failed to resolve an impasse between Numsa and employers.
"The first phases of the wage negotiations began on the week of May 28.... It was during the last phase of negotiations that a deadlock was declared by Numsa."
The union demanded an increase of R30 an hour across the board on actual rates of pay in all sectors and divisions for workers earning above R6,000 a month by 2016, among other things.
"Our demands should be located and understood within the context of escalating costs of living and transport, amid the triple crisis," he said, referring to unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Strike action in the construction sector continued on Monday, after the latest wage offer was rejected, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.
"There is no end in sight for the strike action in construction, it continues until the employers grant our demands," NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.
"We said to them [employers] they must address our demands on the minimum packages and not offer us R400 increases, we will not allow that."
On Friday the body representing employers, the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec), tabled a 10% wage increase for category one to four workers and an 8% wage increase for categories five to nine.
"The 10% translates into a R400 increase for those workers and the 8% is about R300 for those workers. We made it clear that the minimum should be a minimum of R5,500 for the lowest paid workers," Mr Seshoka said.
Safcec said NUM’s demands were "erratic" and unsustainable.
"The last formal demands received from NUM, prior to the issuing of a certificate of nonresolution, called for an increase of 40%," Safcec’s spokeswoman, Annemie Cowley, said in a statement.
"It is considerably above both CPI (the consumer price index) and other industry settlements and would have also provided certainty to both employers and employees," Ms Cowley said.
Last week, Mr Seshoka said about 90,000 NUM members did not report for work after negotiations with employers reached a deadlock.
NUM demanded a change in minimum salary structures, a 13% wage increase for 2013, and a 14% increase for 2014.
Employers initially tabled a 6% wage increase for 2013 and an inflation-linked increase for 2014.
Numsa strike paused
Eye Witness News 2 September 2013
JOHANNESBURG – A strike by members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has been put on hold.
Over 70,000 petrol attendants and motor industry employees were expected to down tools today over wages.
But the union didn’t issue an official notice of strike to employers after expressing willingness to negotiate further.
The union’s Castro Ngobese said it will meet with the South African Fuel Retailers Association and the Retail Motor Industry on Wednesday and Thursday in an attempt to resolve the wage dispute.
“We are meeting with the employers this week Wednesday and Thursday and if nothing comes out of those negotiations, we will be forced to embark on strike action next Monday.”
Meanwhile, a strike by members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) is entering its second week.
Technicians and maintenance employees of South African Airways downed tools last week demanding a 6.5 percent increase.
Wage negotiations deadlocked when the airline offered a last minute increase of 6.4 percent which angered the union who then reverted to its original demand of 12 percent.
(Edited by Gia Kaplan)
Pretoria’s Egyptians call for polls in Cairo
IOL News 2 September 2013
Members of the Egyptian community in South Africa, assembled outside the gates to the Egyptian embassy in Muckleneuk, pray for an end to the violence in the North African country and pay homage to all who have died. Photo: Thobile Mathonsi
Pretoria - Members of the Egyptian community in Pretoria gathered at Cairo’s embassy for a peaceful demonstration on Sunday with the message that the people of the North African country supported the removal of Mohamed Morsi as president.
They called for an end to violence and for democratic elections in Egypt. They also paid homage to all the “martyrs” who had died since the beginning of the year.
On Friday, a different group of people had gathered outside the Egyptian embassy with a different message - one of support for the Muslim Brotherhood and asking that Morsi, a leader of the party, be released and reinstated.
Mahmoud Shehata, who has lived in South Africa since 1994, said on Sunday the group had gathered to support the revolution, saying Morsi had not been removed in a coup. He said he didn’t understand why other countries were interfering in the affairs of Egypt.
“Here we are, all Egyptians, and we are all in support of the interim government. We support the road map to restore democracy.”
The demonstrators paid homage to all Egyptians who had died, and blamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for the violence.
“We have come here in support of the removal of the tyrant. We are totally against religious dictatorship. Before, we had (Hosni) Mubarak’s military dictatorship, but it is heaven compared to religious dictatorship. Hopefully the new elections will produce a civilian government,” said Shehata.
“We hope that in the near future we will have presidential elections, with a new government and president elected in a democratic way.”
According to Shehata, most of the people who demonstrated at the embassy on Friday were not Egyptian. He said they were Ethiopians, Somalis, Pakistanis, Muslims and South Africans.
Shehata said about 300 of them had arrived in buses on Friday. They were protesting against the “coup” and wanted Morsi to continue as president. Many of them were Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Shehata said.
Another Egyptian, Adel Demian, who has lived in South Africa since 1994, agreed with Shehata, saying that he wanted to see a peaceful Egypt. Demian said Morsi had divided Egypt.
Power cuts enrage Klipspruit residents
IOL News 2 September 2013
Johannesburg - Klipspruit residents protesting over power cuts clashed with motorists on Sunday.
Their anger drove them to the streets after they had been in the dark since Thursday, in the latest in a series of electricity disruptions in several months.
Their actions spilt over into neighbouring Kliptown, where furious residents also blockading roads with stones and branches. Protesters said they’d clear the areas only when the electricity was back on.
Residents claim they’ve had to battle constantly with cuts in the past three months, and the situation kept getting worse.
A woman, who has a daughter who returned home from hospital on Saturday after giving birth to twins, said the family had to use tap water to make bottles for the newborns.
A community leader, Fred Collins, said that apart from the frequent power cuts, service delivery in their area was virtually nonexistent.
He said the problems started when their ward was moved from Eldorado Park and incorporated into Chiawelo in 2011.
A Joburg City Power official, who identified himself as Norman, said the latest problem would be rectified on Monday.
Wits students, staff protest after racial profiling allegations
Bongani Nkosi 28 August 2013
The row at Wits over an alleged racial and ethnic profiling tactic by Zionist organisations to control access to a jazz concert has intensified.
The row at Wits University over an alleged racial and ethnic profiling tactic by Zionist organisations to control access to the Daniel Zamir Israeli Jazz Quartet concert intensified on Wednesday, as some staff and students protested on campus to show their disapproval of management’s decision to stage it.
A handful of staff members and students staged a silent protest outside the great hall, where the concert took place. Tawana Kupe, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for finance, explained to the small crowd that they couldn’t stage their protest inside the concourse of the hall. But the organisers maintained they had permission to picket inside.
Being a silent protest, songs were only murmured. But placards expressed displeasure against both the university’s decision to allow the concert, Zionism and the state of Israel.
"We say no to exclusionary Jewish-only events at our institution," read one placard, while another said, "don’t entertain Israel apartheid". Another urged the university to "stop muzzling protest due to Israel lobby".
But some students were clearly frustrated by the form of protest. "Silent protest never achieved anything guys, we’re not a silent country," one student was heard saying.
Tokelo Nhlapo, deputy president of the university’s students representative council (SRC), told the protestors they had to ensure Zionists do not use Wits to further their agenda. "Zionism will not be tolerated at this university," he said. "Not in our name."
Comparing Israel to apartheid, Nhlapo said the state, which has been in a bitter war over land with Palestine since 1948, must exist to promote everyone’s human rights, not just those of Jewish people.
The concert took place despite strong efforts this week by student groups and staff to lobby management to cancel it. Some post-graduate students and staff, including both academic and administrative, wrote letters to the university’s vice-chancellor Adam Habib on Wednesday, telling him of their condemnation "in strongest possible terms the racial/ethnic profiling" allegedly by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation.
The staff letter, which was initially sent to Habib on Tuesday but re-sent again of Wednesday as it gathered more signatories, said "disturbing audio recordings" released by the Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee on Monday are "irrefutable proof" that the organisations pulled some tricks to ensure only Jewish people attended the concert.
While the ticket outlet listed tickets for the concert as sold out, it is confirmed in one recording that all tickets can be acquired from Beyachad. This is the centre housing the headquarters of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation. The organisations allegedly bought all the tickets.
A student is told in another recording that this measure, which included background checks upon supply of identity numbers, was to ensure that only Jewish people attend the event.
The protesting students and staff described this as a tactic by the organisations to "preemptively restrict protest". Both the post-graduate and staff letters said: "We remind the university that to disallow the event – on the grounds of the irrefutable proof that the [organisations] have behaved in a way that is inimical to the values of the university by infringing on the rights to dignity, equality, and protest of staff and students of the university – would not contravene academic freedom and/or the right to freedom of speech."
Shireen Ally, a sociology lecturer, told the M&G "staff are protesting against the racial profiling as well as the attempt to limit protest, as represented by the access control for the event as well as the ongoing prosecution of nine students for their protest action against the previous Israeli concert at Wits".
Zev Krengel, president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, accused the protestors in a statement on Wednesday of being the "self-same activists whose members were responsible for the disgraceful break-up of a piano recital by an Israeli musician on the same campus earlier this year".
But the same people "now presume to cry 'racism' when steps are taken to prevent a repetition of such thuggish behavior", Krengel said.
"The assertion that only Jews are permitted to attend the concert is a gross falsehood," he said. "Those attending come from all over the racial, religious and ethnic spectrum."
Some most active pro-Palestine campaigns have cemented their voice at Wits. Besides work done by Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee, the university’s SRC also has a resolution that condemns occupation of Palestine territories by Israel. The Zionist groups are also seen to be influential at the university, especially via financial contributions.
"As students we don’t want to be associated with an oppressive regime [Israel] that kills," Sibulelo Mgudlwa, president of the SRC told the M&G at the protest.
Responding to staff via his letter, which the M&G has seen, Habib said the concert was organised by the university’s music department and denied the Jewish organisations were given preferential treatment on ticket sales.
"Tickets for this event were … sold to the broader public. The Beyachad as an organisation purchased a number of tickets for the event and was not afforded any undue privileges in this regard," said Habib.
In a statement on Wednesday Habib cited the promotion of diversity as a core reason for hosting the concert.
"The University remains a free space for the open exchange of ideas, even when groups hold opposing views on a matter," he said.
Marikana activists disrupt Trevor Manuel’s Ruth First lecture
Carien du Plessis @carienduplessis #RuthFirstLecture 29 August 2013
About 15 activists and miners from Marikana were kicked out of a lecture by Planning Minister Trevor Manuel on the aftermath of the massacre, after their demand to ask questions was turned down.
The lecture was held in the Wits Great Hall in honour of journalist, communist and anti-apartheid activist Ruth First.
Claire Ceruti from the Democratic Left Front demanded that they be allowed to ask Manuel how his Cabinet could have approved the police’s actions during the Marikana shooting just over a year ago.
Anton Harber, who organises the annual lecture, told them it wasn’t customary to allow questions at these events. He repeatedly apologised by saying, “I’m sorry” as the demands from the group, especially from Ceruti, got more heated. Eventually security guards ushered the group out of the hall. They briefly toyi-toyied outside the venue before leaving.
Manuel’s lecture centred around the National Development Plan. One of the pillars on which the plan is built, he said, was active citizenry.
A miner who would only identify himself as Joseph, and who was among the striking miners at Marikana during last year’s shooting, said he had spent his whole day at the Farlam commission of inquiry and came here to hear what the lecture was about. He said he agreed with Manuel on some points but would have liked to present his view.
“This man (Manuel) is talking about us without us presenting our side of the story. He is talking about bad conditions where we live without us giving our side of the story,” he said in Xhosa.
Johnny Clegg, whose fee-free performance followed the lecture and the altercation, told the audience: “The interaction that went on tonight is part and parcel of who we are. I thought it was a very important moment that happened,” tweeted David Smith from The Guardian.
Said Harber: “We had heard they wanted to protest. And we said we welcome it. “We thought they will be picketing. We just asked them to keep it in the rules. Feelings are strong and it is part of the whole thing. Johnny Clegg was right.”
Asked why he didn’t allow questions, he said: “We discussed and debated this. We have never done it in this lecture. They wanted (advocate) Dali Mpofu to give a rejoinder and we didn’t feel that was appropriate. We are keen to accommodate dissent but there are limits.”
Update: Mohlakeng residents stage mass action
Nonkululeko Mathebula (Look Local) 28 August 2013
Residents barricaded the R28 road with burning tyres and rocks this morning.
Update — 28 August: Following the mass action on the R28 this morning, 28 August, residents of Mohlakeng Extension 5 have agreed to disperse from the scene to engage in talks with the West Rand District Municipality Executive Mayor Mpho Nawa at the Wall of Life Ministry church.
Initially residents were up in arms over the lack of basic service delivery in the area and barricaded the streets with burning tyres and rocks.
According to the Herald's journalist who is at the scene, residents are still furious and have called on the Randfontein Local Municipality Mayor, Sylvia Thebenare to step down from her position.
They say that she is unable to fulfil her duties in office and are fed up with the empty promises she keeps feeding them in terms of basic service delivery in the area.
It remains unclear as to what the way forward will be, but the Herald will keep its readers updated.
Police presence is heavy at the church. Watch this space as the story develops.
28 August: Mohlakeng residents stage mass action
Residents of Mohlakeng Extension 5 are up in arms and have barricaded the R28 and a section of Segaetsho Road with burning tyres and rocks this morning, 28 August.
This comes as residents stage mass action to demand the delivery of basic services in the form of proper sanitation, water and electricity from the Randfontein Local Municipality.
Residents told a Herald journalist who was at the scene at 6am that they have been barricading the road since 2am.
To avoid getting caught up in this, motorists who usually use the R28 are urged to use alternative routes.
Watch this space as the story develops.
SACP GAUTENG STRONGLY CONDEMNS DESPERATE ATTEMPTS OF THE JOHANNESBURG HOUSING COMPANY (JHC) TO STOP ITS WEEKLY PROTEST ACTIONS
SACP 29 August 2013
The SACP strongly condemns the desperate attempts and right-wing tactics of the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC), the Inner City housing monopoly, that are aimed at stopping the revolutionary, democratic, anti-corruption and peaceful weekly pickets against it.
These became clear at the meeting convened by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Division (JMPD) to discuss the picket action yesterday. The JHC lawyers made spurious allegations about the conduct of protesters but they failed to provide proof when they were challenged. We have also learnt that JHC plans to seek an interdict against our legitimate picket action taking place tomorrow.
JHC alleges that protesters threw stones at JHC and intimidated their staff. Metro Police contested the validity of these claims as they were responsible for the security of the picket and JHC dismally failed to provide a shred of evidence to back-up their claims.
It is clear from these desperate and shocking manoeuvres that JHC feels the positive impact of the picket. We warn the JHC to refrain from these acts and return to the people, working class and poor what is right-fully theirs. We firmly believe that the JHC will finally tremble before the might of the people, working class and poor led by their only vanguard Marxist-Leninist Party, the SACP.
The pickets are in solidarity with the working class and poor of the Newtown Housing Village located west of Johannesburg in Fordsburg. Scores of residents were evicted from their houses around mid-June amid a bitterly cold winter. The heartless action rendered homeless many women, people with disabilities, children and the elderly. Some learners from these families had to drop out of schools.
The SACP supports the legitimate demand of the displaced families that the JHC must return to the rightful and historic owners the property that the first non-racial democratic state gave them. This ground-breaking housing initiative was part of the plans to break with capitalist methods, to use cooperatives as a model to deliver low-cost housing to Africans and Black people, working class and poor and to roll back the colonial spatial anomalies inherited from apartheid colonialism.
The SACP believes it is unprincipled and morally wrong for the JHC to take advantage of the working class and poor people to pursue its narrow, selfish and inhuman culture of greed based purely on profit accumulation. This shows a complete disregard of human life.
The SACP hopes to unravel the real reason behind the vicious and cruel conduct of the JHC to target the property of these poor African, Black working class people. We hope to unearth soon the real material and historic source of this attitude of JHC.
We also undertake to get to the bottom of the controversial liquidation process that led to JHC buying the property with 351 family units at an auction value of R28 million. We believe this transaction explains the real truth, facts and historic vested interests of JHC.
Our Marxist-Leninist theory and practice will surely helps us to separate appearance from reality, fiction from truth. We believe there is more to the liquidation process than meets the eye. We challenge JHC to come clean on this matter.
The planned picket will proceed tomorrow, 30th August 2013 at the Head Office of JHC Head Office in Marshalltown. It starts at 10h00. The pickets will run until SACP’s Red October Campaign and we will ensure that JHC and those associated with them, meet the demands of the people, resolve this conflict and do not resort to barbaric and backward strong-arm tactics.
Issued on behalf of the SACP Gauteng Province
Mamabolo Jacob: Provincial Secretary: 082 884 1868
Lucian Segami: Provincial Spokesperson: 079 522 0098
Mob turns on Flippie assault accused
Natasha Bezuidenhout 29 August 2013
Police used a stun grenade to disperse angry protesters outside the Ashton Magistrate’s Court, where two men appeared on charges of assault on Wednesday.
Police formed a protective ring around Johnny Burger, owner of Rietvallei Wine Estate, and farm manager Wilhelm (Dozi) Treurnicht as they made their way to their bakkie after their brief court appearance on Wednesday.
Once the men were in the vehicle, the crowd surrounded them, jumped on to the back of the vehicle, hit the windows and bonnet, and threw stones.
The men had appeared on two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in connection with assaulting farm worker Flip Engelbrecht and his son, Flippie, five years ago.
Flippie, now 20, was left epileptic and blind. Later he fell into a fire during a seizure and lost both his hands. Last week he was fitted with a pair of prosthetic hands.
Flippie Engelbrecht is comforted by Carina Papenfus, secretary of the Freedom Trust. Photo: Candice Chaplin
It is the State’s case that in 2008 Burger and Treurnicht beat Engelbrecht, who worked on the farm, and Flippie, then 15.
On Wednesday, the small court building, which has only one courtroom, was filled with tension and anger as the community waited for the two men to appear.
By 9am, more than 100 farmworkers and community members had gathered outside the court to support the Engelbrecht family.
Burger and Treurnicht arrived after 11am, and it was reported that they were late because one had not been feeling well. This prompted fury from the gallery.
Shouts of “why are you so special? Who do you think you are?” were yelled as they entered the courtroom.
“You say that you not feeling well. How you think this child feels and all the other children you assault?” shouted Carina Papenfus, secretary of the Freedom Trust.
After a brief appearance, magistrate Francois van Deventer transferred the case to the Ashton Regional Court, postponing the matter to September 13.
As the two left the dock, a community member yelled: “Druk hom vas (get him)!”
There was a rush for the door, and police formed a protective ring around the duo as the crowd suddenly surrounded them.
The men reached their bakkie safely, but then people climbed on to the back and rocked it from side to side, while others hit the windows and bonnet.
“Brand hom (burn him)!” was shouted numerous times.
As the vehicle moved slowly away, stones were thrown. Police used a stun grenade to disperse the crowd.
Solomzi Ntlalombi, one of the protesters, said that, although he did not know Flippie he was there to support him.
“An injury to one is an injury to all. I don’t even know him, but support him because of the pain he had to go through.”
Nosey Pieterse, general secretary of the Building and Allied Workers Union of SA, said Flippie’s case was not unique.
“It’s a daily matter of farmworkers being violated. There are many such cases where some have even died, but the farmer is never charged. We are busy reviving those cases too,” Pieterse said.
Later Flippie said that he was feeling heartsore.
“The farmer didn’t feel well, but how did I feel after he assaulted me? Blood was running out of my ears and nose. I’m hurting. I can’t do anything for my parents.”
NATIONAL MARCH TO SAPS OVER THE PLIGHT OF PSA APPOINTEES
POPCRU 29 August 2013
POPCRU expects over 10 000 of its members employed at the South African Police Service (SAPS) as Admin Staff under the Public Service Act to take part in a march tomorrow (29 Aug) to the offices of the National Police Commissioner. This action follows the employer’s failure to meet the demands of workers during a series of marches in May and June this year. The Police management has shown absolute disregard for the needs of the administrators and other workers employed under the act, despite existing legal documents forcing the employer to improve their conditions.
The march will be led by POPCRU President, Zizamele Cebekhulu with other union leaders, COSATU and SACP leaders. POPCRU is demanding on behalf of these workers that SAPS management should implement a DPSA directive which would upgrade the levels of all admin staff in line with other public service departments. The employer is also bound by law to put into effect an agreement signed in 2011 at the SSSBC, which dictates that all employees under the Public Service Act will be translated into the SAPS Act, but has consistently failed to do so.
The marchers will gather at the Old Putco bus Depot in Marabastad, Pretoria from 08:00am and start marching to the National Commissioner’s office on Pretorius Street at 10:00am. Please find routes attached to this email.
Issued by POPCRU on 28 Aug 2013.
For more information contact;
Media & Communications Officer
Tel: 011 242 4615
Cell: 076 851 8884
PROTEST AGAINST ETHNIC/RACIAL PROFILING AND HOSTING OF ISRAEL CONCERT AT WITS UNIVERSITY
COSATU 28 August 2013
PRESS INVITE: Protest taking place tonight at Wits University in Johannesburg against racial-profiling and hosting of Israel concert [Wednesday the 28th of August at 18h30pm]
Failing to receive a response from either Wits University's Principal or Management, the Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee and BDS South Africa together with concerned Wits University staff and students will stage a silent protest outside this evening's Daniel Zamir Israel concert at Wits University's Great Hall. The silent protest is against the practise by pro-Israeli organizations of racial-profiling, conducting "background-checks" and the hosting of an Israeli concert at Wits University. The protest will start at 18h30 and all media are invited.
DAY: Today (Wednesday, 28 August)
PLACE: Great Hall, Central Block, East Campus, Wits University, Johannesburg
CONTACT: 0834530528 / 084219988
DRESS: Protestors are requested to please dress in black
Update: workers demand 40 per cent
Jacobus Myburgh (LookLocal) 27 August 2013
Construction workers from several construction sites in Krugersdorp have downed tools and gone on strike.
The civil engineering contracting industry is experiencing sporadic strike action by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Building Construction and Allied Workers Union (BCAWU) members who demand a wage increase of 40 per cent.
According to the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) the strike comes after wage talks between SAFCEC and the Unions reached deadlock and a certificate of non-resolution was issued by the CCMA following an unsuccessful conciliation process between the parties.
looklocal journalist Jacobus Myburgh found that no construction workers were on site at Key West Shopping Centre and at Silverstar Casino.
However, workers were found to be striking at the front gate of Cradlestone Mall's site and at first demanded the journalist to tell them where he is going.
"All employees from this construction companies are on a national strike," an employee told the reporter.
"We will continue to down tools until our demands are given to us – amandla!"
He says that they have been on strike since yesterday 26 August.
SAFCEC says that employers are managing the striking employees by applying agreed picket rules in their respective demarcated picket areas.
A strike call centre has been opened for members in order to assist them during the strike and for members to report any strike and or non-strike action experienced on site.
NUM and BCAWU are demanding a 40 per cent wage increase on the total cost of employment for entry rate Task Grade 1, while employers are offering 7,5 per cent.
In terms of their respective positions, the parties are far apart and SAFCEC believe that the union demands are unreasonable and unaffordable.
SAFCEC represents the employers in the civil engineering contracting industry in the current wage negotiations, which commenced in July 2013. The bargaining process took place under the auspices of the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI).
“It is regrettable that we’ve reached this position given the current state of labour uncertainty and the impact it will have on the industry and the economy,” says Norman Milne, President of SAFCEC.
SAFCEC remains committed to and is optimistic that an agreement can be reached through continued dialogue.
Construction workers demand better wages
Strike action is currently under way as employees at major construction sites in and around Krugersdorp allegedly demand a salary increase of 15 per cent.
After the NEWS contacted several sites where construction is supposed to be in progress, it was confirmed that the workers indeed were striking.
These construction sites include Cradlestone Mall, which is due to be completed by 25 October, Silverstar Casino's upgrade and development, as well as Key West Shopping Centre's revamp.
Jan du Bruyn, centre manager at Key West confirmed that the construction company's employees have gone on strike.
"We have made sure that the strike does not impact on our shoppers' experience and have beefed up security to prevent any employees from intimidating our customers and other employees."
He says that they have a rule that striking employees are not allowed to picket on Key West property but should continue their protesting on municipal property instead.
The NEWS will keep you updated as information regarding the strike unfolds.
Disruptive FET students could go to jail
SHERLISSA PETERS 28 August 2013
Durban - A group of students at the Pietermaritzburg Further Education and Training (FET) College campuses, who have allegedly been threatening staff and disrupting lectures, have been ordered to cease and desist or face going to jail.
In terms of an order granted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday, the seven students, who were identified by name, are interdicted and restrained from threatening, harassing and intimidating lecturers and employees of the colleges.
They have also been ordered not to blockade or disrupt any educational activity of the college at any of the campuses in Pietermaritzburg.
The order follows an application by the acting principal of the uMgungundlovu FET College earlier this month to bar the students from disrupting the campus.
Two campuses, Plessislaer and Msunduzi, were shut down after violent protests, threats and intimidation by students.
In an affidavit, Casper Johannes de Koker explained he had been appointed acting principal on June 3.
His appointment followed the resignations of two of his predecessors, who were “driven away by rebel students”.
He said the “ringleaders” among the students were “out to govern” the FET college and whenever they did not approve of decisions by campus management, they would whip up emotional support from others and disrupt educational activities, often causing damage.
He also cited instances when staff of the college were threatened with death by the specified students, who claim to be affiliated to the South African Students Congress.
The seven have since been suspended from the college pending disciplinary hearings.
WSU closed indefinitely
IOL News 27 August 2013
Port Elizabeth - Students have been told to vacate the Walter Sisulu University, in the Eastern Cape, because of labour trouble, administrator Lourens van Staden said on Tuesday.
“The volatile situation that is unfolding has made it impossible for management to risk or to guarantee the safety and well-being of our students and the communities in which they live,” he said in a statement.
“We therefore regret to announce that all students are to vacate university premises, university residences and university rented accommodation with immediate effect.”
He said the labour deadlock had dragged on for five weeks.
“The response to the offer made by management to staff last week has not been sufficiently conclusive to enable classes to resume,” Van Staden said.
“The university does not want to keep students waiting on campus indefinitely.”
Van Staden said management would continue seeking ways to resolve the dispute.
“The decision to send students home does not mean that the academic year is lost,” he said.
“All efforts will be made to put alternative arrangements in place in order to complete this second semester.”
Pick n Pay strike threat over manager
Aziz Hartley 28 August 2013
Cape Town - Union members at Pick n Pay have threatened to strike unless the retail giant takes action against a Canal Walk branch manager they have accused of racism.
South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) members at the branch allege the manager called them “monkeys and baboons”, and once locked a worker in a cage, said official Crosby Booi on Tuesday.
The manager, whose name is known to the Cape Times, has rejected the allegations.
Booi said the incidents had taken place in October but had been brought to Saccawu’s attention this month. Workers had lodged grievances against the manager and an independent investigator had recommended a disciplinary inquiry. The manager had been given a final warning, said Booi.
Saccawu had later met Pick n Pay general manager for the Western Cape, Jarett van Vuuren.
“The Canal Walk incident was the third. The same manager was at Cape Gate, then Vangate before he came to Canal Walk. We asked the company for CCTV evidence of the worker put in a cage, for its policy on racism and for action against him. They said they had followed internal procedures and the matter was closed,” Booi said.
He said Saccawu had referred the matter to Pick n Pay’s head office and was waiting for a response.
“Our members have vowed to strike if no action is taken.
“This is not the first time racism was experienced at Pick n Pay.
“In 2009 there was a national strike because of racism in the company,” Booi said.
The manager said: “These allegations are untrue and the company is busy dealing with people making those allegations.”
Pressed about a disciplinary hearing he had faced, he said: “Speak to my general manager. I’m not commenting on those things.”
Asked about his transfers, he said: “I move to stores in the Western Cape.
“That is how the business is. People move all the time. I’ve never been moved due to allegations of racism.”
Van Vuuren would only say: “Pick n Pay cannot comment on disciplinary matters through the press.”
Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich warned of protest action at Pick n Pay if the manager was not removed by the end of the month.
He called on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to condemn the action and to threaten to dispose of her Pick n Pay shares unless the company took strong action.
Workers made the same demand of her in a 2009 dispute with Pick n Pay over racism, but she declined.
‘MK veterans’ trash East Rand building
IOL News 26 August 2013
Johannesburg - A group of people calling themselves military veterans trashed and looted the Germiston Civic Centre on Monday, the municipality said.
“We had a bunch of people masquerading as former MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) members,” said Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesman Zweli Dlamini.
“Surprisingly, some of them were in their mid-20s. They were not even born during times of the struggle.”
The building accommodates the executive mayor, speaker, chief whip, staff and the other political parties.
About 100 people stormed into the building, looted and vandalised property.
Dlamini said they trashed furniture, computers and fridges and stole some items.
“We are still quantifying the damage. The thing is the building had just undergone refurbishment, so we are not sure exactly how much damage we are looking at,” he said.
The attackers assaulted some staff members.
“Some staff members had to be taken in for counselling, while others were taken home,” said Dlamini.
It was unclear what the group wanted.
“If we knew what they wanted, we could have spoken to them, but they just stormed into the building,” he said.
“They did not even give us their demands.”
Dlamini said about 60 people were arrested.
They were expected to appear in court soon on charges of theft, vandalism, trespassing and assault.
Dlamini said officials were still operating from the vandalised building and that service delivery would not be hampered.
S.African construction, airport workers widen wave of strikes
Jon Herskovitz (Yahoo News) 26 August 2013
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African construction and airport workers went on strike for higher wages on Monday, extending a spate of industrial action threatening to slow growth in Africa's largest economy.
The labour unrest poses risks for President Jacob Zuma's African National Congress as it heads into elections next year facing increasing criticism that it has not done enough to help the millions of unemployed and working poor - almost 20 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule.
The rand last week tumbled to a four-year low after 30,000 workers in the car manufacturing sector, responsible for 6 percent of gross domestic product, walked out and gold miners threatened to strike.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said about 90,000 of its members in the construction sector planned to down tools on Monday. More than 50 percent of employers were affected by the labour action, industry group SAFCEC said in a statement.
Employment in the construction industry was at just over 1 million people at the end of June, according to government data.
Major construction firms that could be hit by strikes included Wilson Bayly Holmes Ovcon, Aveng Ltd and Group Five Ltd.
"I didn't know there was a strike," said Luvo Joti, a construction worker who reported for duty at a project in Johannesburg's financial district of Sandton.
Stick-toting NUM members in the union's red T-shirts later arrived at the site and forced workers apparently oblivious of the strike decision or unwilling to heed it to down their tools. Police reported some violence at the scene.
40 PERCENT PAY HIKE DEMAND
NUM is demanding up to a 40 percent increase in pay and benefits for some workers while employers are offering a 7.5 percent raise, according to the industry group called the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC).
South Africa's central bank has said that inflation is projected to run at 5.9 percent in 2013 and wage settlements well above inflation could further threaten the fragile economy.
Some members of the SATAWU transport union also went on strike on Monday, staging a small picket at Johannesburg's main international airport in pursuit of a 12 percent wage increase.
The firm that runs all the country's major airports, Airports Company South Africa, said the strike had not affected any flights and it had contingency plans in place to ensure smooth operations.
Autoworkers with the NUMSA union were meeting on Monday to mull a revised offer from employers, which was reported in local media to be a 10 percent wage increase. NUMSA wants 14 percent.
The strike that started a week ago is costing the economy an estimated $60 million a day.
In the gold sector, NUM gave gold mining companies seven days on Saturday to meet its demand for pay increases of up to 60 percent or face strikes.
Major firms vulnerable to walkouts included AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony.
NUM, the main mining union, walked out of deadlocked wage talks with the companies last Wednesday, setting the scene for a gold industry shutdown that could cost over $35 million a day in lost output, based on current spot prices of the metal.
NUMSA STATEMENT ON THE ONGOING AUTO SECTOR STRIKE
NUMSA 26 August 2013
The National Office Bearers (NOBs’) of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) will be convening a special auto National Shopstewards Council (NSSC) tomorrow Tuesday 27 August 2013, at the Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre (VMCC), Newtown, Johannesburg, Gauteng.
The purpose of this special auto NSSC is to consolidate a way forward based on the various mandates that have been received from members across all the auto plants pertaining to the revised offer by the Automobile Manufacturers Organisation (AMEO) oligarchy. The union has since Friday 23 August 2013 been consulting in a democratic and transparent process with members on the revised offer.
Following the NSSC, a special National Executive Committee (NEC) of the union to be held on Wednesday August 28, 2013, will make a final decision on the strike. The outcomes and decisions of the special NEC will be publicly communicated. Therefore, the strike is still going ahead, until we have received a new mandate from our striking workers. This is in line with our long standing traditions and principle of worker control.
We refute any insinuations that suggest that we have accepted any offer. Such insinuations are poisonous and malicious to the extreme.
Miners, Construction workers and Energy workers march
NUM 23 August 2013
Thousands of members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will tomorrow march to handover memoranda of demands to Eskom, the Chamber of Mines and the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC). The marchers will start gathering in the morning at 08h00 at Peter Roos Park at the Corner of Victoria and Empire Road in Park Town, Johannesburg. The march will proceed from Peter Roos Park to Eskom offices in Braamfontein and then to the Chamber of Mines where both the Chamber and SAFCEC representatives will received a memorandum. Workers demand that Eskom should stop bullying its employees and accede to their justified demands and that both the Chamber of Mines ‘s Gold producers and companies affiliated to SAFCEC should do the same. Many of the companies affiliated to SAFCEC have been accused of milking the state through fraudulent activities thus making huge profits. The NUM demands that these companies together with mining companies such as Anglogold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Goldfields, Sibanye and many others should share their hefty ill-gotten gains with the poor masses.
There will be two more simultaneous marches to demand the same, one in Kwazulu-Natal and the other in the Eastern Cape tomorrow. In the Eastern Cape, marchers will gather at Beacon bay, near the Coastal garage at 09H00 and proceed to Eskom at Sunny Laws Park Offices. The memorandum will be received by Eskom management at 12h30. On the Kwazulu-Natal march, more information may be obtained from Bhekani Ngcobo, the Regional Coordinator of the NUM in Kwazulu-Natal at 071 670 6349.
For more information, please contact:
Lesiba Seshoka (Spokesman)
National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
Tel: 011 377 2047
Cell: 082 803 6719
WC cops arrest violent protesters
Eye Witness News 23 August 2013
CAPE TOWN - Cape Town police say they have arrested at least a dozen angry protesters for public violence following demonstrations in the Du Noon informal settlement near Milnerton.
Residents burnt tyres and threw stones in the early hours of the morning. It's thought the protests are over poor service delivery.
The Western Cape police’s Tembinkosi Kinana said the situation was quelled after swift action by officers at the scene.
"They were throwing stones at police during a stand-off. Police managed to arrest some of the protesters.”
Earlier this week Cape Town motorists were forced to endure an extended peak hour when the N2 Highway was closed as a result of protest action.
The traffic department had to divert vehicles as protestors took to the N2 between the R300 and the airport approach road for the latest in a string of protests in the area.
It’s unclear what Tuesday’s protest was about, although it was thought to be linked to the so-called ‘poo wars’ that started a few months earlier.
Cop crackdown on Cape N2 protests
Yolisa Tswanya 23 August 2013
Cape Town - Police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse crowds that hurled rocks, glass bottles and rubbish onto the N2 in a protest that began shortly before 5pm, closing the road for more than three hours.
The inbound lanes between Spine Road and Mew Way reopened at about 8pm.
With the normal rush hour traffic clogging up the outbound lanes and the inbound lanes being closed, traffic on the highway was more difficult than usual.
But provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said it would have been worse had the protests been on the other side of the road.
“It wasn’t a major problem but we still had some backlog. We managed it.”
Motorists were diverted to the N1.
Residents of the Khayelitsha BM Section tipped four portable toilets over the concrete fence and were dragging them on to the highway’s inbound lane before police stopped them.
Two police Nyalas, along with other police vehicles, as well as traffic and law enforcement were deployed to the stretch of freeway to maintain order.
Police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana confirmed that police had fired stun grenades into the crowd to disperse them, and said officers would remain into the area to maintain peace.
“I think the protest is service delivery related, but there seems to be some resistance from the people and we have sent more police to the area.”
Kinana said it was a difficult situation to police as people ran onto the road to throw rubbish and then ran back into the informal settlements.
“We have not arrested anyone as they go attack and then run back into the shacks. One car was damaged and the person is going to lay a charge.”
The residents stood on top of concrete toilets and threw stones at passing cars, media and police. They said they were fed up with their toilet situation and would not stop protesting until they saw results.
Nangamso Ntshutsha, in his mid-30s, said he had lived in the BM Section for most of his life and had seen little change: “If we had proper sanitation it would be so much better, but we don’t want proper sanitation here, we want it in proper houses like other people that have normal houses.”
Ntshutsha said they would meet again on Friday for another protest.
The N2, one of the two major arteries in an out of Cape Town, has been closed at least four times in the past two months, because of protests.
Protest at Durban blind centre
News 24 22 August 2013
Durban - Residents from a centre re-integrating blind people into society protested in Durban on Wednesday, against a government decision to send them home.
Residents of the Enduduzweni Centre for the Blind in Umlazi, and their relatives, protested and police were called to ensure calm prevailed, KwaZulu-Natal social development spokesperson Ncumisa Fandesi said.
She said about 70 people took part in the protests.
"There are many people with disabilities in the province who can benefit from the training provided by the centre and, as a department, we believe it is unfair for a few people to continue to reside at the centre when they have completed their training."
Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said no one was arrested or injured.
Fandesi said the residents had made allegations against the management, demanding their removal. She said the residents, who had been trained to make a living, were refusing to leave the centre and were preventing other disabled people from being trained.
Support the Midrand municipal workers!
Cosatu 21 August 2013
The Congress of South African Trade Unions declares its total support for the 283 municipal workers, who are marching, with their families tomorrow, Thursday 22 August 2013, over a dispute which began in 1994, when more than 500 municipal workers employed by the then Midrand Council went on strike against corruption and nepotism.
They were dismissed, and left penniless, and none of them has received any of their pension entitlement ever since.
But, as their union SAMWU says, “in a remarkable show of solidarity and self-reliance, the workers have continued to campaign for their jobs, and for a thorough investigation into the corruption they fought against”.
The surviving 283 workers have continued to meet and support one another, and asked SAMWU to try and agree a settlement with Johannesburg City Council to absorb then into the municipality, and to investigate their pension entitlements.
COSATU fully agrees with SAMWU’s appeal to the council “to listen to its constituents, and put an end to the most unimaginable hardship workers anywhere have experienced”.
Tomorrow’s march will assemble at 09h00 am in the NUMSA Car Park, behind the NUMSA Head Office, 153 Bree Street, cnr Gerard Sekoto, from where it will proceed to the Metro Centre to deliver a Memorandum demanding that the City engage with SAMWU for the absorption of these workers, and to end their years of extreme poverty and deprivation.
Twenty years is long enough! Fill council vacancies! Absorb the valiant Midrand workers!
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct: +27 10 219-1339
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
South African auto workers vow to ‘intensify’ strike
The Peninsula20 August 2013
PORT ELIZABETH: More than 30,000 workers in South Africa’s auto industry vowed yesterday to intensify an nationwide wage strike that has crippled a multi-billion dollar export market.
In the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, dubbed the “Detroit of Africa,” thousands of workers took to the streets singing revolutionary songs outside General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen plants.
“The strike still proceeds,” said Mphumzi Maqungo, the treasurer of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA), vowing to “intensify” the stoppage.
The workers are demanding a 14-percent pay increase. Employers have offered eight percent.
No talks have taken place between seven major car makers and workers since Monday, when tens of thousands downed tools.
NUMSA vowed to “take the battle to the employers’ doorsteps in the form of marches and demonstrations.” Ayanda Madlozi, a worker protesting outside the VW factory in Port Elizabeth, demanded “a wage which would take care of (his) whole family, not peanuts.”
Meanwhile at Ford’s plant in Mamelodi, on the outskirts of Pretoria, hundreds of workers clad in red T-shirts and berets chanted and danced.
The strike is costing South Africa — the continent’s largest car producer — around 3,000 vehicles or $60m at day in lost revenue according to industry lobby group the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa.
The group has warned lost production will need to be regained in order to meet obligations to international customers.
“Once the strike is over, which hopefully will be soon, manufacturers will inevitably and invariably take steps to recover part of the lost production,” said the group’s Nico Vermeulen.
Sol Plaatje workers on go-slow
IOL News 20 August 2013
Bloemontein - Workers at Sol Plaatje municipality in Kimberley are on a go-slow in a protest over several issues, a union spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.
Sol Plaatje SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) chairman Manne Moremi said the go-slow was across all sectors of the municipality.
“It's a go-slow until we can go on a full strike of which the application would 1/8be 3/8 handed in tomorrow (Wednesday).”
On Monday, unhappy workers held executive mayor Agnes Ntlangula and the municipal manager Goolam Akharwaray against their will at a meeting at the Kimberley City Hall.
Police were called in to escort Ntlangula and Akharwaray out of the city hall.
Northern Cape police spokesman Lt Olebogeng Tawana said the situation was quiet on Tuesday.
Moremi said Samwu wanted all contract workers to be permanently employed immediately. They also wanted an external audit of back-pay due to workers.
Moremi said the mayor should intervene in disciplinary hearings against some workers.
“We believe that disciplinary hearings were used to silence some workers.”
ANC provincial secretary Zamani Saul raised concern about the protest situation at the municipality.
“We are of the firm view that there are channels of communication in every workplace and violent protests such as these are not the way to go.”
Saul said the municipal management and workers should meet urgently to find a solution to the problem. Labour issues could not be allowed to drag on for so long.
The Sol Plaatje municipal spokesman was not available for comment.
Protests turn violent in Roodepoort
IOL News 21 August 2013
Johannesburg - A group of protesters burnt tyres and placed rocks on Randfontein Road in Roodepoort on Wednesday, Johannesburg metro police said.
“The protesters are singing and chanting, and also throwing stones at vehicles trying to pass through,” Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.
Motorists were advised to avoid Randfontein Road.
SA Police Service spokesman Constable Vincent Mashite said police were on their way to the scene
Orange Farm residents protest
IOL News 21 August 2013
Johannesburg - Residents of Orange Farm burnt tyres and placed rocks on main roads in the area on Wednesday, Johannesburg metro police said.
“It is not safe to venture into the area, especially for motorists, because rocks are all over the road,” Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.
“Motorists are advised to use the N1 instead of the Golden Highway,” he said.
The protesters had also placed rocks and burning tyres between Welgevonden Road and Palm Springs Mall.
Minnaar said it was not clear why residents were protesting. - Sapa
Kosovo demolition leads to chaos
Look Local 20 August 2013
Once the police had left, the rioters continued to blockade the road with stones and sing struggle songs.
They blockaded the R40 from Barberton to Nelspruit with burning wood and hurled insults at Umjindi mayor, Cllr Lazaros Mashaba in absentia, and police officers on the scene as they helplessly tried to resist demolition of their "homes".
One woman was heard to say, "With that type of cruel heart, I wonder what kind of pastor Mashaba (Cllr Lazaros Mashaba) was at the church he is always claiming to lead."
He is a well-respected man of the cloth who serves at the Zion Christian Church in Emjindini.
This took place after residents of Kosovo Village said their "homes" had been destroyed by caterpillar as ordered by the council.
The area looked as if it had been struck by a powerful tornado. In under an hour, the caterpillar, guarded by a heavy armed contingent of police and led by the Sheriff of the Court, tore the wooden houses apart and left the people homeless.
Soon after their shacks were completely demolished the residents wanted to march to the council offices and personally remove Mashaba as their leader.
Their attempt was foiled by police who barricaded the road, claiming the residents didn't have a permit.
Once the police had left, the rioters continued to blockade the road with stones and sing struggle songs.
What also appeared to aggravate the situation was the fact that none of the Umjindi councillors, including Mashaba himself, were present to address them.
Barberton Times ascertained that while the Sheriff of the Court was demolishing their structures, the local leadership was busy engaging with the MEC for public works, roads and transport, Dikeledi Mahlangu.
Thembi Matsebula, (42) said she had lost about R4 500 which it had cost her to build her house. "The very same government that I voted into power is the one that left me homeless today.
The day will come when they go around asking for our votes and only fools will vote for them," said Matsebula.
Snopo Gwebu of the Umjindi Community Forum said they would continue to occupy that land until the council met their demand for allocated stands.
Residents of the area said, "We maintain our promise that should we be evicted, we are going to boycott the municipal services and next year's elections. We are never going to rest until we are totally free! aChimurenga iHhondo.....Pambere!".
Community members started to occupy the municipal land illegally last year on the grounds that the council had failed to fulfil its promises to them.
Barberton Times had previously reported that the residents claimed that the mayor
had verbally promised that they were would be allocated stands. To date nothing had been done.
Recently, Mashaba has claimed that the government has bought four farms around Umjindi and people should wait patiently as they will get them.
Attempts to obtain comment from the council were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.