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SA protest news 21 - 31 July 2009 (2009) SA protest news 21 - 31 July 2009.   : -.


Strikers led by police
Wed, 29 Jul 2009 12:34

Twenty police cars, two nyalas, six horses and 200 police officers were
leading striking municipal workers through Cape Town streets on
Wednesday morning.

The police estimated that around 2000 SA Municipal Workers' Union
(Samwu) members were taking part in the protest for better pay that
started on Monday.

The stick-wielding protesters carried banners reading, "Yes to a living
wage, no to privatisation".

The march to the Civic Centre in central Cape Town was proceeding
peacefully around noon.

Samwu and its fellow union, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade
Union (Imatu), are set to decide on Wednesday if a new wage offer from
the SA Local Government Association (Salga) would be accepted.

Salga is offering 11.5 percent from 1 July this year plus another 1.5
percent in January next year, which will result in a 13 percent increase.

At the time that disputes were declared with the employer, Imatu was
demanding 13 percent and Samwu 15 percent.

Imatu has indicated that 95 percent of its members were already back at
work and that the union considered the latest offer to be "reasonably

Cosatu backs new offer
Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi hopes striking municipal
workers will accept their employers’ latest wage offer.

Leaders of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union met on Wednesday
afternoon to discuss the offer of 13 percent as the strike continues for
a third day.

Vavi said SAMWU is expected to announce a way forward later on.

“I hope that they will come out of that meeting and to accept that 13

Demonstrators again took to the streets of the Johannesburg city centre
on Wednesday.

They marched to the Gauteng Local Government Department’s offices and
handed over a memorandum to officials.

SAMWU’s Vincent Vena said workers were not happy with the offer.

“The members in Gauteng as from Monday for the past two days and even
today they have given clear indications and signals that they are
rejecting the 13 percent offered by SALGA. However the national
executive committee will meet today.”

Sjambok-wielding strikers storm building
29 July 2009

Patients collecting ARV's and TB medication at the Khayelitsha Community
Health Centre were chased away by sjambok wielding municipal workers
after they stormed the building, forcing officials to close the facility.

The centre was one of several forced to close after intimidation of
staff and patients.

The incident yesterday is set to be followed by mass protest action by
municipal workers who were expected to march in Cape Town's CBD today to
the civic centre to hand over a list of demands.

South African Municipal Workers Union's (Samwu) Michael Khumalo said
they expected all or most of their 10 000 members to take part in the march.

Members of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) were
set to join them.

Police captain Andre Traut said police members were "geared up" for the
strike and that and that "all resources" would be deployed today.

# Additional Reporting by Natasha Prince

# Read the full story in the print edition of the Cape Argus

Strike closes Pretoria municipal offices
Sapa 29 July 2009

THE Centurion and Akasia municipal offices in Pretoria were closed today
(July 29) when staff were intimidated.

“Striking municipal workers armed with sticks overturned refuse bins in
Centurion and threatened to break cars belonging to workers who had come
to work,” said municipal spokeswoman Antoinette Mostert.

The Akasia office was closed for the same reason.

In the Moses Kotane municipality in North West, striking workers
barricaded the main entrance to the municipal building in Mogwase.

Spokesman Beauty Makganye said the only access to the building was via a
pedestrian gate.

“The protest is peaceful,” she said.

In the rural municipality of Moretele, also in North West, the strike
had less impact on service delivery, spokesman Abel Malebye said.

Emergency services and waste removal were not affected at all.

Waste removal was done by independent contractors. People who wanted to
pay bills or needed proof of residence however couldn’t be helped.

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) has condemned
the violence and other crimes that have marred mass action during the
current municipal workers’ strike for higher pay.

“We recognise employees of local government are frustrated and fed up
with the lack of management of the affairs of municipalities, whilst the
managers and councillors have not recognised the damaging effect of the
increasing wage gap between workers and management.” the union said in a

It had instructed its members that violence, intimidation of
non-strikers and the public, looting and littering and any other
criminal activity would not be tolerated.

“We are currently engaging with our members on branch level to discuss
the latest salary proposal from Salga in order to allow them to take an
informed decision by the end of this week.”

Striking municipal workers in Gauteng marched in Johannesburg today, the
third day of the strike.

Unions Imatu and Samwu wanted an increase of 15% or R2500 and a minimum
monthly salary of R5000.

Their employer, the SA Local Government Association has revised its
offer to 13%, from 11,5%. – Sapa

Trashing : The Good The Bad and the Exaggerated

SAMWU has noted press coverage on trashing and the comments of well
known media commentators such as Tim Modise, and others who have used
terms like ‘mayhem’ to describe the situation in municipalities where
rubbish has been spilled onto the streets.

This union has called on all of its members not to trash, and will
continue to do so. We acknowledge that it is unpopular, and can distract
attention away from the central and just demands of our pay and
conditions campaign.

However, the reaction of the media, and sadly some of our political
allies has been misguided, and exaggerated. This press statement is an
attempt to put the record straight and we would ask the media to respect
its contents and not use it selectively to distort what SAMWU is saying.

1. There has been some trashing on some of the marches, and there have
also been marshalls and leaders asking workers to refrain from this
activity. None of this has been reported. In Johannesburg, we witnessed
several younger journalists actually giving trash filled bags to
members, and then descending like flies to get the perfect photo shoot.
This is provocative and unethical journalism and we call upon the media
houses to discipline their journalists, and for journalists themselves
to stop bringing their profession into disrepute.

2. Why have the media and some politicians not complemented SAMWU and
IMATU for the overwhelming orderliness of the marches that have taken
place? Apart from where the police have over-reacted, as acknowledged by
many impartial observers, and unnecessarily used rubber bullets to
disperse marchers (indicating that apartheid style policing methods are
not dead and buried) almost all marches have been very well marshalled
and respectful of property and other peoples rights.

3. Many of our members are invisible to the public. They clean the
streets at night, and gather in the trash that the public expects to be
taken away, and often at great human cost. Our members do the work that
many of the commentators would never dream of doing. Maybe Tim Modise
and others should spend just one shift with the City night cleaners and
open their eyes to the appalling conditions they have to endure. We
collect dead animals and worse on the roadside, we unblock sewers, we
fix water pipes in the freezing cold, respond to emergencies and much
more besides. And yet the gap between these vital workers and the those
who are supposed to manage service delivery is as wide as it was under
apartheid. That is the reality. When a street cleaner upturns a rubbish
bag, does it not occur to journalists and commentators that this might
be an act of defiance, of for one being visible, of not being taken for
granted? Part of any industrial action is to make visible what it is
that workers do, to force an awareness on the public of the value of
these workers, not just as producers of goods, but as human beings who
have lives, who have families to support, who have dreams. As a union we
do not condone this action, but we at least try and understand it.

4. We cannot help thinking that the reaction to trashing is a very class
based response. In poor communities and the townships our members have
been receiving massive public support. We are not surprised that
organisations fighting against privatisation, and for service delivery
have supported our strike, because they know what it is like not to have
regular community cleaning services, or to wait for ever for water and
other services. What is it that upsets the commentators? That the
streets that they drive through are littered? Have they never been into
squatter camps, or places where victims of xenophobia have been dumped?

5. The very small number of workers who trash are often those involved
in street cleaning. They know they will probably have to clean up the
mess they are creating, but as long as they remain invisible,
undervalued, underpaid and subjected to appalling conditions, they will
use whatever means they have to draw attention to their plight. If the
news media spent as much time on finding out these facts of ordinary
peoples’ lives, instead of using this minority activity to trash SAMWU
and its perfectly legitimate right to campaign for a living wage, then
they may be actually helping to solve problems rather than create them.

6. Vast numbers of municipal workers are angry and frustrated. Why are
they angry and frustrated? Many of them are “temporary” or “contract
workers” who have actually been employed by the municipality for many
years, without enjoying any of the benefits of permanent workers. Many
of them are labour broker workers, who suffer from poor wages and
working conditions, and no job security. Even those workers employed
“permanently” by municipalities have faced years of uncertainty caused
by restructuring, shifts towards privatisation, increasing wage gaps and
inequality between municipal managers and workers, lack of recognition
for years of loyal service. Is it any wonder that workers are angry?

We think the media and the public should be outraged not by the sporadic
incidents of trashing that have occurred, but the exorbitant and
outrageous salaries municipal managers and mayors pay themselves, and
which mean that they cannot afford to pay decent wages to the very
workers who ensure that these mayors and managers can continue to live
in their clean suburbs.

For comment contact General Secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo on 011 331 0334 /
072 536 9756; or Deputy General Secretary Walter Theledi on 011 331 0334
/ 082 558 5680 or Collective Bargaining Officer Dale Forbes at 011 331 0334

Gender groups protest in Banyana case
Sapa 29 July 2009

Dozens of protesters converged outside the Delmas Circuit Court on
Wednesday calling for the maximum sentence to be imposed on three men
accused of killing Banyana Banyana soccer player Eudy Simelane.

"The case hasn't started yet but the protesters are singing and
toy-toying at the moment," said Phumzile Mtetwa, spokesperson for the
Lesbian and Gay Equality Project.

"We are calling for them to be found guilty and get a maximum sentence
for each count."

Around 250 gender activists were waiting outside the court.

Khumbulani Magagula, Johannes Mahlangu and Themba Mvubu last appeared in
court in February, facing charges of murder, robbery with aggravating
circumstances and rape.

They allegedly gang raped and repeatedly stabbed Simelane in 2008,
killing her.

Simelane's body was found in an open field next to the KwaThema hostel
in April last year.

Simelane was a well-known gay rights activist and her murder was linked
to a spate of attacks on gays and lesbians.

The case was expected to start at around 11.30am. - Sapa

Merafong mayor resigns
Sapa 28 July 2009

Mashishing community leader Mandla Mabilane has been released on R500
bail, in the Lydenburg Magistrates Court. Local residents have demanded
his release, protesting in front of the court, and throwing the
police-station with stones and petrol bombs.

Carletonville - Merafong municipality mayor Des Van Rooyen has resigned.
Municipal spokesperson Seabo Gaeganelwe says the reasons for his
resignation will be made known after a council meeting in Carletonville
this afternoon. Van Rooyen's property was burnt down after the local
government election in 2006, when irate residents turned on their
councillor, forcing him to flee the area. Van Rooyen has been mayor
since 2003. Residents in Merafong boycotted the local government
election in March 2006 in protest against the inclusion of Merafong
into North West from Gauteng. They barricaded streets, burnt buildings
and brought schooling to a halt. The protests led to government
backtracking on the 2005 decision to include Merafong into North West.



150,000 South African workers walk out
Morning Star, Monday July 27, 2009
Johannesburg has been brought to a grinding halt with 10,000 local
government workers marching to Mary Fitzgerald Square to reaffirm their
union's demand for a 15 per cent wage increase and a housing subsidy.
About 150,000 workers in the country have stopped work. Unions say that
most public services are disrupted.

Marches are happening in all the major centres - Johannesburg, Tshwane,
Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Sol Plaatjie - as well as in many of the
smaller municipalities ranging from Bredasdorp, Mossel Bay and Beaufort
West. In other municipalities workers are picketing the municipal offices.
The strikes are the first major challenge for new President Jacob Zuma,
who has called for patience from workers but is faced by a situation in
which South Africa's organised working class is rapidly running out of it.
Unions reported massive support for the strike, with many services, such
as refuse removal, traffic, water maintenance and revenue collection,
not operating.

In recent weeks there have been violent protests over the lack of
housing, water and electricity in the poorest townships.
The police in charge of traffic policing in the country's major cities
are also taking part in the strike.

The country has already faced a major strike by construction workers,
threatening stadiums being built for next year's football World Cup.
That strike was ended earlier this month after workers and employers
agreed on a 12 per cent rise.

Mr Zuma took power in May after a campaign in which he pledged to ease

He was supported by the main union federation Cosatu and the South
African Communist Party, which wanted a change in the previous
administration's economic policies that they argued were too pro-business.
In Cape Town, 3,000 workers marched to the provincial offices of
employers' organisation Salga to assert the union's key demands of a
living wage, filling of the 25 per cent of vacant posts in the public
sector and the improvement of housing benefit, while in Durban 5,000
workers marched and picketed workplaces.

The actions around the country were generally peaceful but there were
reports of police action in Polokwane, where workers were shot at and

Municipal workers continue to strike
SAMWU Cape Town 28 July 2009

The municipal workers' strike that started yesterday, and is continuing
today, Tuesday 28 July, is being strongly supported by workers from both
SAMWU and IMATU. On the whole, the action of workers has been peaceful
and conducted in good spirits. We have had reports of a few isolated
incidents of violence, but this seems to have largely been instigated by
an unnecessarily heavy handed approach from the police.

For instance, today workers picketed at depots all over the Western
Cape. We have had numerous reports from our structures of provocative
action by the police. They have unnecessarily harassed workers engaging
on lawful pickets in depots from Atlantis to Gugulethu. They have
arrested workers in Paarl and Mossel Bay – simply for picketing! It is
this type of action which unnecessarily escalates tensions and hardens
attitudes. We call on the South African Police Services not to
exacerbate the situation. According to Xolile Nxu, the 1st deputy
president of SAMWU, "the mayor of Vredenburg/Saldanha had to send away
the policy yesterday (Monday) because he could see that they were
provoking the situation." We call on other municipal management to show
the same restrained attitude".

Thousands of workers have again marched in Johannesburg, as well as
other centres around the country.

The media has tended to conflate incidents of trashing and violence. We
don't condone violence by our members. We do understand the trashing as
a clear indication of the depths of frustration, anger and alienation
felt by the vast majority of municipal workers. After years of
restructuring, which in many cases has involved putting municipal
worker's jobs out to contract, years of poor and constantly changing
management, years of uncertainty and job intensification, workers morale
has hit an all time low.
The strike has received strong support internationally, with radio and
TV stations from countries ranging from Australia to France and Germany
phoning us for news; and workers organisations internationally sending
messages of support.

The union is currently gathering mandates from its 120 000 members
across the country on whether to accept the latest offer which came out
of the negotiations meeting of Friday 24 July 2009. These mandates will
be consolidated at the National Executive Committee of the union, which
is to be held in Johannesburg tomorrow, Wednesday 29 July 2009. After
this meeting we will then be in a position to respond formally to the offer.
SAMWU notes press coverage of the first day of our strike and we wish to
make the following points. We feel that it is important that these
points are raised as there is a great deal of misinformation and
distortion going on.

Point one: there is an argument that a 15% increase cannot be
justifiable in the current economic context:
* It is interesting that when workers, the silent, disregarded majority
of the country, the ones who actually do the work, come out on strike,
economists and many of the public jump up and down shouting about how
municipalities can't afford the increase. When section 56 and 57
managers award themselves obscene increases, when municipalities engage
in wasteful and unnecessary and unjustifiable expenses, or when managers
in the private sector award themselves huge salaries, performance
bonuses and share options, then these same `experts' are silent.
* An important point to note is that SAMWU members covered by the SALGBC
have received a below inflation increase for the last two years (the
second and third years of the previous three year agreement). In last
year, for instance, SAMWU members took a 4.5% cut in their real wages.
It was at this time that food inflation was an astronomical 17.9%. In
demanding a 15% increase now workers are simply trying to compensate for
the previous years' fall in real wages. The majority of our members earn
low wages to start with, and must feed, clothe and house their families
on that money.

* The Bureau of Market Research has determined that in order to afford
the most basic living, a family must get R 4 800 per month. This is just
to afford the most basic living. This figure does not take into account
that many workers are supporting extended families.
According to Mthandeki Nhlapo, the General Secretary "our members, many
of whom have between 20 and 30 years of loyal service are demanding a
minimum wage of R 5000 because it will give them something slightly more
than a basic living – but which will hardly put them in the lap of
luxury, unlike most, if not all, of the municipal managers and mayors."
Point two: can municipalities afford a 15% increase? There is much talk
about municipalities not being able to afford a 15% increase. Let us
look at the facts.

* The biggest component of the municipal wage bill consists of the
salaries paid to municipality managers, mayors, executive councillors
and so on. We know that in some municipalities these officials and
councillors earn over a R 1 million. Can this be justified? We are told
that this is in order to make sure municipalities can attract the
necessary skilled, senior staff. Our members, often the general workers,
are extorted to work within the ethos of ubuntu. The implication being
that they must work extra hard, and with greater commitment than private
sector workers because they are public sector workers. Why is this same
imperative not put onto high up officials and councillors? Why is it
expected that the only way these people will continue to work for local
government is if they are paid excessive salaries? Why are they not
expected to work for local government out of a sense of commitment, of
social justice? By pandering to their excessive wage demands is
government not simply exacerbating the culture of greed and
individualism which is rampant in our society?

* There has also been a huge proliferation of jobs at the higher levels
of the municipality. We have heard of municipalities far off the beaten
track setting up executive managers for 2010, when no matches or even
practices will be played in that municipality.

* At the lower grade levels, on the other hand, there are more than a
hundred thousand vacancies. It is these vacancies which result in
services not being delivered as they should be, with our members having
to perform the work of two or three workers at a time. It is for this
reason that one of our demands has been for vacancies to be filled.
* Instead of filling these vacancies, municipalities outsource or bring
in labour broker workers. This undermines the ANC manifesto and the
government's intention to give effect to the manifesto. These workers
are being paid appalling wages, R 2000 or less. If municipalities are
committed to paying decent wages and the eradication of poverty then
this situation must be eliminated and those workers should be employed
directly by the municipality.

* The recently released Auditor General's report on the audit outcomes
for the 2007 – 2008 financial year has revealed interesting information:
o The report highlights the problem that SAMWU has long been aware of,
that of municipalities paying consultants huge salaries, to do the work
that the municipalities should be doing, without any transfer of skills
taking place. This means that the municipality must continue to pay huge
fees consultants to do their work year after year, instead of putting in
place a training programme and employing enough workers to ensure that
municipality employees can do the work.

o Municipalities are failing to comply with relevant legislation that
impacts on them. 33% of metros and 32% of non-metro municipalities have
inadequate content in their IDP. IDPs are supposed to be the backbone of
a municipalities planning. If they are not sufficiently detailed, what
does it say about the municipalities planning? In this context, it is no
wonder that 45% of municipalities were found to engaged in unauthorised,
fruitless, wasteful expenditure.

* Can municipalities who are engaged in this type of expenditure and
this lack of compliance with the legislative framework really justify
not paying more for the wages of workers who are at the coal face of
service delivery in municipalities?

* Municipalities have already factored in tariff increases, some of
which are higher than inflation. Note, for instance, the electricity
increase of 32%. This increase in tariffs is completely unrelated to
workers' actions. It is nonsense to say that workers' legitimate wage
demands will result in tariff increases. When workers got below
inflation increases last year did we see drops in tariffs? Tariffs have
increased have increased over the years, often at a higher rate than
inflation, without workers wages having any impact on them.
* We call on national government to urgently review the conditions which
put limits on local government and their ability to meet their mandate,
by measures such as the capping of budgets. We welcome the direction
which the national government purports to be taking as part of its
intervention in this matter.

For comment contact General Secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo on 021 697
1151/072 536 9756; or Deputy General Secretary Walter Theledi on 011 331
0334/082 558 5680 or Collective Bargaining Officer Dale Forbes at 021

Strikers plan militant action in CBD
Gigu Mbonambi & Nompumelelo Magwaza (The Mercury) 29 July 2009

THE municipal workers' strike is set to become more militant as
disgruntled employees plan to intensify their action in the Durban CBD

The strike over wages began on Monday, resulting in the disruption of
most municipal services in the province.

Yesterday, striking municipal workers trashed the Pinetown CBD and
Scottburgh's Main street as the countrywide strike entered its second day.

The protesters had previously been picketing peacefully outside their
workplaces in Durban. However, unions yesterday warned that as
frustration mounts the pickets were likely to become more violent.

Pinetown police inspector Solomon Mbhele said that about 100 workers had
marched through the CBD when a small group broke away and started to
trash the area.

"The group of workers emptied rubbish bins into the middle of Hill
Street, which caused disruption to the traffic. Others stoned a truck
that was passing by and later some workers ripped open a water point,"
he said.

Mbhele said police were quick to respond and the workers were dispersed.
"There is a large police presence in the area and we are not expecting
more disruptions," he said.

Scottburgh police Captain Vincent Pandarum said striking workers trashed
the Scottburgh main street yesterday. "The main roads that lead to the
R102 old main road into the Scottburgh town centre were closed, causing
traffic jams throughout the town. Police presence helped to disperse
workers," he said.

All Durban Solid Waste workers were on strike, but metro police, fire
department and other emergency personnel, who are classified as
essential services, had all worked.

The two major unions in the sector, the SA Municipal Workers Union
(Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu),
said yesterday they were still consulting with their members about the
latest wage offer, but a formal announcement to end the strike would
only be made once all provinces had agreed.

Samwu branch secretary Nhlanhla Nyandeni said they would picket outside
the city hall, Florence Mkhize Building and Shell House to mobilise more
of their members.

"We have received reports that some employers are intimidating their
workers, however, we have advised our members that it is their
constitutional right to strike," he said.

Imatu regional manager, Dempsey Perumal, said the strike had been
successful, especially in the north and south of Durban and that most
services were disrupted in the CBD.

"We are still collecting mandates from our members whether to reject or
accept the offer.

"There is a bargaining committee meeting that has been scheduled for
(tomorrow) and we are hoping to conclude the negotiations then," he said.

Workers losing sympathy
Xolani Mbanjwa (The Mercury) 29 July 2009

POLITICAL analysts warned yesterday that municipal workers risked losing
public sympathy for their strike because of violent protests, while the
opposition DA said it would move to change the law to make unions liable
for damages caused.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana also cautioned yesterday that
"violence can only harden attitudes".

He urged municipal workers to "immediately observe discipline as they
are demonising the real concerns of the majority of the workers".

Striking municipal workers - who downed tools on Monday in their demand
for a 15 percent wage increase - trashed dustbins and tossed litter
around streets and municipal offices during marches and pickets in a
number of cities and towns.

"Without holding unions accountable for their actions, the strike action
will come at a high cost to both the state and those citizens caught up
in the strikes," said DA shadow minister for co-operative governance and
traditional affairs, Willem Doman.

President Jacob Zuma had failed to show leadership during the strikes,
he said.

Analysts urged a speedy resolution to the wage dispute, warning that a
prolonged strike would be detrimental to both municipal workers and the

New protests in South Africa as thousands strike
Agence France Press July 29, 2009

South Africa's Government faced more violent protests on Tuesday as
police fired rubber bullets on marchers as a strike by tens of thousands
of municipal workers entered a second day.

Police broke up an angry demonstration in a Johannesburg suburb using
rubber bullets after 200 residents blocked off streets in a protest over
lack of service delivery by the municipality.

Demonstrators stoned a police cordon in Thokoza after finding the
municipality, whose staff was taking part in a nationwide local
government workers' strike, was closed.
Strike hits South Africa

Thousands of striking South African council workers have taken to the
streets of Johannesburg for another day in their battle for a 15 per
cent pay hike.

Police Captain Godfrey Maditsi said the protest "was causing havoc" and
said police fired the rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Thokoza has been a hotspot of rioting as a series of service delivery
protests have swept South Africa in recent weeks.

Rising discontent over wages and slack service delivery have increased
pressure on the new Government of President Jacob Zuma in the midst of a

In downtown Johannebsurg, South African Municipal Workers (SAMWU) union
president Petrus Mashishi appealed for calm at a rally attended by about
1000 strikers, after marches on Monday deteriorated into chaos around
the country.

"We must ensure our actions are not going to taint the image of this
organisation," he said.

Nearly 30 strikers were arrested on Monday as protesters looted shops,
harassed passers-by and dumped garbage in the streets. At least 12 were
injured as police fired rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators.

Buses, clinics, traffic offices, city parks and libraries were shut down
by the strike as more than 150,000 government workers downed tools,
demanding higher pay after inflation last year soared to a high of 13.7
per cent.

Inflation has since eased to 8 per cent, but workers say they are still
falling behind.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said in a statement on Tuesday that
bad behaviour by strikers was tarnishing the genuine grievances they
might have and was undermining their right to strike.

"The supposedly peaceful wage increment demonstrations deteriorated into
chaos as scores of marchers were seen causing havoc - looting, harassing
street vendors and spilling refuse on the streets in most of the
country's major cities yesterday," he said in a statement.

Employers are offering an increase of 13 per cent, and workers will
continue to strike on Wednesday while the unions weigh up the offer.

"If they decide to call off the strike, then that will happen but if the
members reject the offer then we are going to the bargaining council on
Thursday to negotiate on top of the 13 per cent," Mr Mashishi said.

Wearing red and black SAMWU T-shirts, strikers sang struggle songs and
chanted "pay us more" as they marched peacefully under a heavy police
presence in Johannesburg.

"Although I will be losing money by being here, I am willing to strike
until the employer meets our demands. It will be worth it in the end,"
said Nozipho Ndlela, an administrator at Johannesburg municipality.

Last week, the country was hit by violent protests over lax public
services from local government.

Mr Zuma led the ruling African National Congress to a thumping victory
in April elections, promising to tackle enduring poverty 15 years after
the end of apartheid.

About 43 per cent of South Africans live on less than $2 a day.

South Africa often has strikes during the southern hemisphere winter, as
many contracts come up for renewal mid-year.

Doctors and construction workers at 2010 World Cup stadiums have already
staged strikes over the past two months.

Samwu protest action to continue
By Daily News Reporters and Sapa

Strike action by the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) will continue
until at least tomorrow, the union says.

"We are in the process of getting mandates from our members across the
country on a new offer, which was the outcome of protracted negotiations
between the parties over the weekend," the union said yesterday.

"These discussions will continue until Wednesday, when a national
executive committee will assess the strike and determine a way forward."

"Our structures report massive support for the strike, with many
services, such as refuse removal, traffic, water maintenance and revenue
collection not operating."

Cosatu's KwaZulu-Natal secretary Zet Luzipho said yesterday: "We are
happy with the number of people who did not go to work today.

"In some areas, 90 percent of municipal workers did not turn up for
work," he said.

Samwu provincial secretary Jaycee Ncanana said the strike would continue
until workers were satisfied with the outcome of negotiations.

"We will continue until we get the mandate from our lead-er and we
expect to embark on a protest march on Thursday, which is the day that
we will be receiving our response," he said.

Municipal workers trashed streets near a mall in Phoenix, but Durban was
quieter than other cities with only about 150 protesters turning up
outside the city hall yesterday.

Shop steward Dumisani Luthuli said all members had agreed that they
would not take the 13 percent being offered and would keep on protesting
until they received a 15 percent increase to their salaries.

"Even if takes us the rest of the week, we will still continue because
we don't want anything less than what we have asked for," he said.

Fifty striking workers were arrested in Empangeni after they allegedly
tried to set a police vehicle alight.

Luzipho called on strikers not to vandalise property.

In the Western Cape there were reports of intimidation against
non-striking workers, an assault on a city police officer, the closure
of a clinic in Masiphumelele and a driving testing centre in
Khayelitsha, because of the protests.

Limpopo police said three people had been injured in Po-lokwane when
some workers turned violent during a march to municipal offices and 25
had been arrested.

Published on the web by Daily News on July 28, 2009.

More chaos as municipal strike continues
Lee-Anne Butler and Mthetho Ndoni (HERALD REPORTERS) 29 July 2009

ROADS were blockaded, rubbish again dumped in streets, workers
intimidated and elderly people forced to leave a library as the
municipal strike in Nelson Mandela Bay continued into its second day

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana warned workers that violent
protests would “only harden attitudes”.

“I call on all those involved in these unlawful actions to immediately
observe discipline, as they are demonising the real concerns of the
majority of the workers.

“Violence can only harden attitudes.”

About 100 workers blockaded Govan Mbeki Avenue in front of the
municipality‘s Brister House and dumped rubbish into the street.

Despite the heavy police presence in Govan Mbeki Avenue yesterday,
strikers were chanting and singing while some cordoned off the street
and emptied refuse bins.

About 15 strikers also entered the Newton Park municipal library
yesterday and demanded that a group of elderly people holding a meeting
inside its auditorium leave the premises immediately.

Arthur Croft, chairman of the University of the Third Age, an
organisation of retired and elderly people which was holding its monthly
meeting, said the strikers told everyone to leave, including staff.

“We thought it would be best to listen to them and leave quietly. There
were no incidents, so we handled it in the best way,” Croft said later

But member Aubrey Bradfield said he had returned to the library on
realising he had left his wallet behind.

“We saw water flowing out from one of the entrances and running into the
street. The basins in the men‘s toilets had been clogged full of toilet
paper and the taps were running full blast. The water was all over the

The strike continued yesterday despite a new 13% wage hike offer by the
SA Local Government Association (Salga) in response to union demands for
15%. Samwu provincial secretary Siphiwo Ndunyana said meetings were
being held throughout the Eastern Cape to discuss the new offer.

“There is a strong chance that the strike will continue (today) up until
the time the national executive committee of Samwu takes a decision.”

Bay municipal spokesman Luncedo Njezula said some workers “tried to
force their way into the traffic department in Sidwell, but police
managed to keep them out of the building”.

Some workers were also “threatened and intimidated at the Despatch
sewage works”.

The municipality had hired private contractors to clean up the streets,
and staff in essential services departments were at work, Njezula added.

Samwu secretary-general Mthandeki Nhlapo said workers staged protest
marches again, most of them peaceful, in several cities yesterday.

Economist Mike Schussler estimated the strike was costing South Africa
in the region of R15-million a day.

“I can‘t work out the damage of all the shops and the traders, but the
cost is around R15-million a day in workers‘ wages, I guess,” he said.

The longer the strike continued, the more the cost would escalate.

But the National Union of Mine Workers yesterday agreed to a wage deal
with gold and coal producers, averting a mining industry strike.

On Monday, strikers also stoned and assaulted a waste management
company‘s workers in Port Elizabeth with an iron rod and knobkieries,
seriously injuring an assistant driver.

The Veolia Environment Services truck driver and his assistant were
attacked by the strikers in Cape Road.

Driver Kenneth Sokhela, 47, said chanting strikers forced him to use an
alternative route.

“As I was waiting for these men to move away from the truck, they
started to accuse me of not following their orders,” Sokhela recalled

“They came rushing to my door and tried to open it, but it was locked.
They then went to my assistant‘s side and pulled the door open.”

When he saw that his assistant, Nicholas Naidoo, was in danger of being
beaten, he quickly reversed the truck and sped off, but stones were
hurled at them.

Naidoo was hit by stones, beaten up and sustained multiple leg and wrist
injuries as well as a gash to his head.

Naidoo said no one came to their rescue even though many policemen were
keeping an eye on the strikers.

“It was scary, because the protesters tried to pull me from the truck
and the driver had to reverse as quickly as possible to get away.”

Veolia Environment Services regional manager Greg Paterson said the two
men had arrived back at work in a severe state of shock.

Naidoo was taken to the IOD (injury on duty) centre in Western Road,
Central, while Sokhela had minor injuries.

City badly affected by stike
Kgopotso Poo (Pretoria Rekord)

Pretoria City centre came to a standstill when thousands of municipality
workers took to the streets in protest of their wages on Monday.
The workers peacefully marched in and around the city to their final
destination, the Munitoria building in Vermeulen Street, where they
handed over a memorandum to the Tshwane metro.

Only one scene of intimidation occurred when some protesters tried to
loot vendors in Church Square but was immediately called to order by
their leader.

Traffic was disrupted for the best part of the day with the closing of
both Vermeulen and Van der Walt streets.

On arrival at Munitoria, various leaders addressed the crowds.
Issues of nepotism and call for the mayor’s head topped the agenda.
“The mayor does not even know our situation because she lives in the
suburbs,” says Siphiwe Monthla, chairperson of the Young Communist League.
“They fail to live up to their pre-election promises. We are suffering
while they live in luxury,” he concluded.

Various unions including Fedusa, Samwu, Imatu and Cosatu embraced the

Their demands ranged from an increase of 15%, a minimum wage of R5 000
per month, a 70% housing loan assistance and rental allowance and the
filling of municipal posts.

Cosatu’s Malikale Maditsi concludes, “a better life should not only be
for section 57 workers only but for all of us and it is an insult to the
unions that there are still people earning R2 000 per month”.

Five detained in W Cape municpal protest
Sapa 28 July 2009

Five municipal workers were "detained" by the police in Paarl on Tuesday
while taking part in a protest for better pay, an SA Municipal Workers'
Union (Samwu) official said.

"We have received reports of police intimidation in Mossel Bay and
Paarl," Andre Adams said.

"In Paarl we have received reports that five workers have been detained.
Our shop stewards are currently on their way to Paarl police station to
verify the reasons for the detention."

Adams said the police were trying to prevent Samwu members from
picketing in front of municipal buildings in Cape Town.

'The pickets are lawful pickets in terms of the Labour Relations Act'
"The pickets are lawful pickets in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
This abuse of state machinery to smash legitimate strike protests is
strongly condemned by the union."

The SA Local Government Association has called on unions to return to
the negotiating table, saying it had already "significantly" upped its
wage offer from 10.5 percent to 13 percent. Unions wanted 15 percent.

Adams said the union would seek a mandate on the latest offer from
workers on Tuesday.

On Monday eight "unruly" protesters and four police officers were
injured during a service delivery protest in Plettenberg Bay in the
Western Cape.

Captain Malcolm Pojie said the police used rubber bullets and pepper
spray to disperse Samwu members when they became violent towards
policemen and motorists.

Extra law enforcement had to be sent to Khayelitsha, Killarney and
Nyanga outside Cape Town after reports of assaults and intimidation by
striking municipal workers.

City of Cape Town spokesperson Kylie Hatton said striking workers
assaulted a law enforcement officer at the Nyanga terminus.

Adams said around 6 000 union members marched through the suburb of
Bellville, outside Cape Town, to Salga's offices.

Hatton said just 3 468, or 17,4 percent, of the city's 22 129 municipal
workers were reported absent without leave. - Sapa

In Solidarity: A week of radical actions including a march on Parliament
by Sikhula Sonke, the farmworkers trade union 28 July 2009

MEDIA RELEASE by Sikhula Sonke
Sent in solidarity by the Anti-Eviction Campaign

Farm workers in Stellenbosch demand an end to inhumane forced evictions,
appalling housing and retrenchments: 27 July to 1 August 2009

Farm workers embark on a week of radical action, Monday 27 July to
Saturday 1 August. They come from the Boland, West Coast, Breede River,
Witzenburg, Overberg, Oostenberg, Breede Valley and Swartland. This
action takes place on the eve of the famous Stellenbosch wine festival
and coincides with several uprisings for service delivery across the

The action starts on the flower farm, Kaapfleurs, at 17h00 on Monday 27
July. Workers at Kaapfleurs literally live in pigsties and face
retrenchments. We will plant seeds on the farm on Tuesday 28 July.

On Tuesday we start our journey to the National Parliament in Plein
Street at 16h00 where we will hold a night vigil, camping out at the
gates of Parliament.

On Wednesday 29 July, we will meet with our partners, supporters and the
media at St Georges Cathedral on Wale Street, from 11h00, during which
we will light candles in solidarity with the million farm workers who
were displaced and evicted from farms during the first ten years of our
democracy, farmworkers who still bear extreme hardships on a daily
basis, farmworkers who produce the food that sustains our rainbow nation.

We expect President Jacob Zuma to address us at Parliament at 12h00 on
Wednesday. During the afternoon we will continue our demonstration with
testimonies, music, poetry and solidarity messages at Parliament.

Our protests resume in Stellenbosch on the evening of 30 July, for the
start of the Stellenbosch wine festival, during which we will highlight
grave issues farm workers are confronted with on these farms on a daily
basis. We are targeting specific farms where the wine festival takes place.

Stellenbosch farms show the realities and lives of so many farm workers
and farm dwellers across South Africa, many of whom are still treated as

The rally is supported by a number of farm worker trade unions,
organizations and other partners, including Alternative Information
Development Centre, Engender, ILRIG, Mayibuye, New Women’s Movement,
Surplus People’s Project, Triangle Project, Trust for Community Outreach
& Education, Women on Farms Project and various community and faith leaders.

The public and media are invited to attend the week of action starting
on Monday 27 July at Kaapfleurs farm.

The rally is organised by the farm worker trade union, Sikhula Sonke.

For more information and directions to venues, please contact:

Sandra Hendricks (Administrator) on 021 883 3180 or 083 566 1372

SA rocked by more violent protests
Sapa 28 July 2009

Two more violent service delivery protests rocked South Africa on
Tuesday in which state buildings were burnt and police cars stoned.

In Thokoza, on the East Rand, police used rubber bullets to disperse a
crowd of angry protesters who blocked roads and stoned police vehicles.

"They marched to the municipal offices this morning [Tuesday] and found
that it was closed due to the strike in that sector."

"After returning to the Thokoza hostel, they toppled dustbins and flung
stones at state vehicles," police Captain Godfrey Maditsi said.

Maditsi said police had to then use rubber bullets to calm the crowd of
about 200.

Police were expected to monitor the area into Wednesday.

When Sapa spoke to Maditsi at about 4pm, he said the situation there had
returned to normal.

Following the protests in Thokoza, the municipality intervened by
forming a task team to deal with the concerns of the community.

Concerns included cleanliness and electrification of the hostel.

In Mpumalanga, in Simile township near Sabie, about 500 residents went
on a rampage on Tuesday.

They torched a library and municipal vehicles.

A police officer was hurt in the violence.

Two municipal tractors, a fire engine, a bakkie and a truck were burnt
out, Superintendent Abie Khoabane said.

Rubber bullets were also used to disperse the irate residents there.
Khoabane earlier said they would continue to monitor the area.

But, by Tuesday afternoon the situation was under control.

Violence in Simile broke out after residents allegedly lodged grievances
with the provincial government two weeks ago, and had not yet received a

This in the wake of similar protest action at Balfour in the same
province, where foreigners were targeted.

Violence there saw intervention this week by deputy Home Affairs
Minister Malusi Gigaba, after the community called for the resignation
of the entire municipal council.

Other provinces affected by violent protests also include the Eastern
Cape and the Western Cape. - Sapa

Protest turns violent in Simile
Sapa 28 July 2009

A police officer was hurt as protesters burnt down a library and set
fire to municipal vehicles over poor service delivery in Simile township
near Sabie, Mpumalanga police said.

"Two Thaba Chweu municipal tractors, a fire engine, a bakkie and a
mobile truck were burnt down," said Superintendent Abie Khoabane.

"Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the violent crowd and in
the process, a police officer was seriously injured when a stone was
thrown at him."

The crowd of around 500 gathered at 5.30am and barricaded roads and
burnt down a library, said Khoabane.

A police vehicle was damaged when residents threw stones.
However, no arrests had been made.

Khoabane said the situation was "under control" on Tuesday afternoon and
there was a heavy police presence monitoring the area.

According to SABC news, pandemonium broke out after the provincial
government's alleged failure to respond to the community grievances
registered some two weeks ago.

The grievances include the lack of housing and high municipal rates in
the area.

The disruption comes a week after a similar protest in the province's
Balfour area, where some foreign nationals were attacked and had their
businesses destroyed. - Sapa

Bid to ‘extinguish’ attacks on Somalis
VUYO MABANDLA (Cape Argus) 26 July 2009

A meeting is to be held today in Gugulethu in a bid to reduce tensions
and “extinguish” a rise in xenophobic abuse of Somali traders by locals.

This comes after a series of attacks in Samora Machel last week in which
seven Somali shops were forcefully closed down by local traders.
The violence was sparked after a deal reached last month between local
and foreign business people failed. In terms of the deal, local and
Somali shops should operate at least a hundred metres away from each
other. The other part of the deal was that certain products at the shops
should be sold at the same price.

Anti-Eviction Campaign co-ordinator Mncedisi Twalo, who will be the
mediator at today’s meeting, said it was also decided last month that no
new businesses would be opened after the deal came into effect at the
beginning of this month.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato was reportedly aware of the violence in Samora
Machel and said the city was on “high alert”.

Twalo said that at the base of the problem was a local hatred for
foreign nationals.

“That’s one of the issues we will look to sort out. We want to find ways
to extinguish xenophobia and prevent a thing like this from spreading to
other provinces.”

The Anti-Eviction Campaign blamed the government, saying it was
responsible for the problem.

A statement on its website says: “The unhappiness of local business
people is justified, but this unhappiness is being directed at other
poor people instead of at the government and the corporations who are
the root cause of our problems.”

By late yesterday, the South African Association of Somalis had not
confirmed it would attend today’s meeting. But landlords, church
leaders, police representatives, local business associations, traders
and shop owners, and councillors from seven communities said they would
be there.

“We want to ensure that every part of agreements concluded by the
concerned parties is implemented, until the situation is a thing of the
past,” said Twalo.

Meanwhile, a service delivery protest by Khayelitsha informal settlers
was being planned for the beginning of next month.

Mzonke Poni, also a member of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, said residents
had been expecting a response from Plato to a list of demands delivered
to him last week and were “becoming restless”.

He also mentioned the issue of foreigners occupying RDP houses,
sometimes let to them by poor locals.

“People have to make money and that sometimes means people have to rent
out their state-given property. But some people aren’t happy about
that,” Poni said.



Municipal strikes: 3 000 workers stop traffic
By Aziz Hartley 27 July 2009

About 3000 municipal workers - 17 percent of the City Council's
workforce - went on strike on Monday and staged a protest march through
Bellville where many of them emptied rubbish bins, littered the street
and brought traffic to a standstill.

Organised by SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and Independent
Municipal and Allied Workers Trade Union (Imatu) the march was to
deliver a memorandum to the SA Local Government Association (Salga) offices.

Wage talks between Salga and the unions deadlocked earlier this month.
Samwu demands included a 15 percent wage increase, a minium salary of R4
020, and all vacant posts to be filled, while Imatu demanded 11.5
percent increase. The average minimum is about R3 000.

On Sunday Salga tabled a revised offer, a three-year agreement which
# a 11.5 percent salary increase backdated to July 1, with an additional
1.5 percent in January 2010
# inflation plus 1.5 percent in 2010/11
# inflation plus two percent in 2011/12
# increase the minimum salary to R3 850 this year and to R4 000 next year

Workers are to consider it today and tomorrow (Wednesday) and the
parties have agreed to resume talks on Thursday. Said Imatu media
manager Simon Riekert: "We have to get feedback from members by
Wednesday. So the strike is still on. We meet on Thursday."

Samwu deputy general secretary Ntabane Theledi said although the
difference between Samwu's minimum salary demand and Salga's offer was a
mere R20, Salga's offer was coupled to a three year agreement -
something Samwu rejected.

While Sapa reported that eight protesters and four police officers were
injured during a violent confrontation in Plettenberg Bay, City Council
spokesperson Kylie Hatton said extra law enforcement was sent to
Khayelitsha, Killarney and Nyanga after reports of assaults and
intimidation by striking municipal workers
Hatton said: "On the first day 3468 (17,4 percent) of the City's total
workforce of 22 129 were absent.

Municipal workers bring various cities to a standstill
Mandy Wiener, Liezl Thom and Narissa Subramoney 27 July 2009

The municipal services strike by the South African Municipal Workers’
Union members is in full swing in various CBD’s across the country.

Workers are demanding a 15 percent wage increase.

In the Johannesburg, thousands are marching from the Mary Fitzgerald
Square to Braamfontein.

A convoy of police vehicles has led thousands of striking municipal
workers across the Nelson Mandela Bridge - heading towards the city
council’s offices.

The several thousand-strong crowd stretched out along the length of the

The march has been peaceful for the most part until strikers spotted
some working colleagues and let out a flurry of threats vowing to return
later to get them.

Union leaders in Pretoria have berated Tshwane Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa and
her council saying they care more about their own pockets than the
welfare of their workers.

Around 5 000 SAMWU members and IMATU members are protesting outside
Ramokgopa’s offices demanding better wages and working conditions.

A strong police and metro police contingence is keeping an eye on the
protest which has been peaceful so far.

Even though there are no marches or protest action in Durban, the
effects of the strike are clearly visible.

Trash cans full of rubbish from last week are laying on the streets
through out the city centre and surrounding areas.

Trade union Cosatu has thrown its weight behind strikers saying it fully
supports the current industrial action undertaken by several of their

Demonstrations by SAMWU in Durban are only expected to start on Thursday.

(Editing by Lenyaro Sello)

Violence mars day one of strikes
Sapa 27 July 2009

Several protesters were injured by rubber bullets as thousands of
municipal workers took to the streets on Monday to demand better pay,
harassing hawkers and emptying refuse bins.

In Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape Police said eight "unruly" protesters
and four police officers were injured during a strike.

Captain Malcolm Pojie said police used rubber bullets and pepper spray
to disperse a group of about 100 SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu)
members when they began throwing rubbish and other items at passing

"Police intervened and protesters then began assaulting police officers
by throwing stones at them. They had to retaliate."

Two people were arrested for public violence.

Limpopo police said three people were injured in Polokwane when some
workers turned violent during a march to municipal offices.

Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said police fired rubber bullets into the

"They damaged the gate of the municipal entrance and they took all the
dustbins and threw it [the rubbish] all around the streets. We
intervened and during the process three people were slightly injured."

Ngoepe said reports that one of the injured had not been part of the
protest would be investigated.

Twenty-five people were arrested on charges of public violence,
malicious damage to property and organising an illegal gathering.

In Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal police took 50 striking municipal workers in
for questioning after they allegedly tried to set a police van alight.

"They threw a burning object, but the car was not destroyed," said
Inspector Mbongeni Mdlalose.

In Pretoria, union officials prevented some marchers from stealing from
hawkers next to the road.

Meanwhile the SA Municipal Workers' Union said the strike would continue
until at least Wednesday.

"We are in the process of getting mandates from our members across the
country on a new offer, which was the outcome of protracted negotiations
between the parties over the weekend," Samwu said in a statement.

"These discussions will continue until Wednesday, when a national
executive committee will convene to assess the strike and determine a
way forward."

The union said its members came out in "full force" on Monday in support
of the strike.

"Our structures report massive support for the strike, with many
services, such as refuse removal, traffic, water maintenance, revenue
collection not operating."

It said members were present in all major cities, as well as smaller
municipalities like Bredasdorp, Mossel Bay and Beaufort West.

The union said the strike was conducted in a "peaceful and disciplined
manner" and said it was "outraged" at reports of police action in Polokwane.

The main marches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban proceeded, on the
whole, peacefully.

The Cape Town municipality said extra law enforcement was sent to
Khayelitsha, Killarney and Nyanga townships following reports of assault
and intimidation by strikers.

Spokesperson Kylie Hatton said a law enforcement officer was assaulted
at the Nyanga terminus by striking workers and later taken to a clinic
for treatment.

The SA Local Government Association (Salga) called on unions to return
to the negotiating table, saying it had already "significantly" upped
its wage offer from 10.5 percent to 13 percent. Unions wanted 15 percent.

"Salga believes that negotiations are the most preferred vehicle to
nurture industrial action (sic) since this is a critical prerequisite
for quality service delivery and development," Salga executive director
of labour relations, Mzwanele Yawa, said.

However, unions, including Samwu and the Independent Municipal and
Allied Trade Union, which collectively represent 150,000 people,
insisted their demands be met to ensure workers could cope with
inflation, which peaked at 13.7 percent last year.

In Pretoria, Samwu's national general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo said
workers did not want a "starving wage", but one that would improve their

"This is an insult to the workers, President Zuma must intervene... We
did not vote to change the lives of a few selected, we voted for a
better life for all."

A water services employee in central Johannesburg said: "We need more
money with inflation everywhere."

Also present at the march was Samwu spokesperson Dumisani Langa who
claimed that 70 percent of municipal workers were earning less than the
R5 000 a month the unions were demanding as a minimum wage.

"Nowadays you can't have a person making R3 000 a month as a permanent
employee," he said. - Sapa

Three hurt during Polokwane protest
Sapa 27 July 2009

We intervened and during the process three people were slightly injured

Three people were injured in Polokwane today when a protest over service
delivery turned violent, Limpopo police said.

Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said about 3000 workers had been marching
to the municipal offices when the protesters became violent and police
were forced to fire rubber bullets into the crowd.

"They damaged the gate of the municipal entrance and they took all the
dustbins and threw it [the rubbish] all around the streets. We
intervened and during the process three people were slightly injured."

Ngoepe said 25 people - aged between 20 and 52 - were arrested and all
faced charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and
organising an illegal gathering under Act 205 of 1996.

The crowd dispersed after the incident but police were monitoring the

Responding to reports that one of the people injured had not been part
of the protest action, Ngoepe said this would form part of the

Durban strikers arrested
Sapa Mon, 27 Jul 2009

Scores of striking municipal workers were arrested in Empangeni, a South
African Municipal Workers' Union spokesman said on Monday afternoon.

"It has been reported to me that scores of members have been arrested.
Three vans were full of our members who were arrested for talking part
in a protest," said South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu)
secretary Jaycee Ncanana.

Empangeni police spokeswoman Captain Tienkie van Vuuren was not
available to explain why they were arrested.

Ncanana said the union's lawyers were trying to have the workers released.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has claimed that
most KwaZulu-Natal municipal workers stayed away from work on Monday

"We are happy with the number of people who did not go to work today
(Monday)," said Cosatu's KwaZulu-Natal secretary Zet Luzipho.

"In some areas, 90 percent of municipal workers did not go to work," he

Samwu and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) members
went on strike on Monday after rejecting an 11.5 percent wage increase

Major cities around the country were expected to be worst affected.

Addressing journalists in Durban on Monday, Luzipho said Cosatu
supported all industrial action by its affiliated unions. Samwu and
Imatu represent 90 percent of municipal workers.

By noon, there was no sign of striking municipal workers in Durban's
CBD. Ncanana said workers had gathered outside the municipal offices in

Ethekwini metro police spokeswoman Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said
officers would keep an eye on the situation.

Police spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram said no vandalism or
intimidation had been reported by noon.

Luzipho called on striking workers not to vandalise property.

"Law enforcement agencies must also resist the temptation of being used
as strike-breakers, but rather [should] ensure that parties conduct
themselves in a fair manner."

The strikes were not aimed at undermining President Jacob Zuma's
administration, but were genuine demands for better pay.

"The employers must not shift the blame. This is not about Zuma and his
administration. We fully support Zuma."

Majority of KZN municipal workers on strike
Sapa 27 July 2009

The majority of KwaZulu-Natal municipal workers did not go to work on
Monday morning, the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) said.

"We are busy getting reports from different municipalities across the
province. In Umgungundlovu District Municipality for example, the
majority of workers in the district's ten municipalities did not go to
work," said Jaycee Ncanana, provincial secretary for Samwu.

Members of Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union
had rejected an 11.5 percent wage increase offer and started to strike
on Monday.

Major cities including Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town were
expected to be the most affected as they had many municipal employees.

By 9.30am, striking municipal workers were not seen in Durban's CBD.

Metro police spokeswoman Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said they had
deployed their members throughout the city to monitor the situation.

She said all police officers were at work on Monday.

Samwu said there was no guarantee that essential services such as water
and sanitation, health and electricity, would not be affected during a
strike. - Sapa

Workers plan crippling strike but city has plans in place
Irene Kuppan and Sapa 27 July 2009

MUNICIPAL, railroad and SABC employees, along with workers in the paper
and pulp industry, are among the thousands of people countrywide who
were expected to embark on strike action today.

eThekwini residents can expect disruptions to services when municipal
workers down tools. Commuters could find themselves stranded if the
railroad workers make good on their threat to strike.

While the eThekwini Municipality expected interruptions to some
services, city manager Michael Sutcliffe said contingency plans were in
place to make sure critical services continued.

He said essential services which included water and sanitation,
cleansing and solid waste, electricity, health, Metro Police and
emergency services would not be affected by the strike and employees in
these units were required by law to work during the strike.

"We ask that residents and businesses be patient until a resolution is
reached. There may be some interruptions to our services, but the
contingency plan the city has prepared will ensure that critical
services will continue," said Sutcliffe.

He also warned that the municipality would apply the "no work, no pay"
principle and those essential service employees who joined the strike
illegally would face disciplinary action.

Dempsey Perumal of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union
expected municipal workers to down tools by 7am today. He said there
would be demonstrations at different points in the city and the
essential services employees had also indicated they wanted to join the

A strike by railroad workers is also expected today.

Sibusiso Ngomane, of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, said
negotiations with the unions in an attempt to avoid a strike continued
into late yesterday.

"We remain quite optimistic that a strike can be averted, but if it
can't, we do have contingency plans in place. We will run a limited
train service on key routes and in some instances we will make buses
available," he said.

However, Chris de Vos, the general secretary of the United Transport and
Allied Trade Union said yesterday that the strike would start today.

"There have been no phone calls to indicate they want to sign."

Fellow union SA Transport and Allied Workers Union had not indicated
whether it would issue a strike notice. "This will be a legal strike as
we are already in possession of a deadlock notice issued on July 10," De
Vos said.

A strike by 45 000 members of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing,
Wood and Allied Workers Union is also expected to enter its second week

Locally about 700 workers at Mondi's Merebank and Richards Bay mills
will continue with the strike, a shop steward (who can't be named) at
the Merebank branch said. He said a meeting on Friday failed to resolve
the dispute and that the employees were prepared to protest until they
were made a favourable offer.

While the Communication and Workers Union said on its website that its
members would embark on a second phase of the strike against the SABC,
the broadcaster said it was not aware if the strike would go ahead.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: "It is difficult to say if there
will be a strike or not. But nothing has changed on our side. If they do
go on strike, we will put into action our contingency plans which were
planned a while ago."

Tyres burnt in EL service delivery protest
Jan Hennop 27 July 2009

Filed Under (consumer, council, crime) by Jan Hennop on 27-07-2009 and
tagged consumer, council, crime, Duncan Village, protest, service delivery

Residents protesting a lack of service delivery in Duncan Village have
block off roads and were burning tyres on Monday morning, demanding that
their ward councillor step down, reported Sino Majangaza from the scene.

The protest, in which residents have burnt tyres and littered roads
around Duncan Village with trash and rocks started on Sunday after a
community meeting.

Residents said they were fed up with the state of Duncan Village and the
fact that services were not being delivered.

“There are quite a few burning tyres and residents were once more
gathering in the area,” Majangaza said.

One resident, who refused to be named, said she was born in Duncan
Village 45 years ago ” and since then nothing has changed.”

There were no security presence on the scene, but drivers are advised to
stay away from the Ziphunzana Bypass and the Douglas Smit Highway
leading into Duncan Village and tension was building in the shackland area.

More on this breaking news story as it develops.

* Finding its roots in the late 1800’s, Duncan Village was already a
sizable if not disorganised township in the 1950s.

Later, the apartheid government tried to flatten the area with
bulldozers and rebuild an “organised” township, with strictly controlled

As a result, the government lost control of the area and the experiment
failed. By the late 1990’s thousands of informal and backyard shacks had
been built.

Today, Duncan Village remain one of the most densely populated and
overcrowded townships in South Africa, with a population estimated at
more than 150 000 people.

Duncan Village video: See below for a typical street scene in Duncan
Village (Regrets: YouTube only)
Duncan Village residents on Monday took to the streets to protest the
lack of service delivery in their area. The residents demanded that
their ward councillor be replaced. Herewith some footage of the area,
shot earlier by DispatchOnline’s Thando Gqamane:

Marchers have my sympathy - Zuma
Sapa 27 July 2009

The government was taking cognisance of service delivery protests,
President Jacob Zuma said in Durban at the weekend.

"We are paying serious attention to the protests," Zuma said in a speech
prepared for delivery at a meeting with the Durban Chamber of Commerce
and Industry.

"We are sympathetic to the concerns of people who have genuine
grievances, for we know what it is like to live in conditions of squalor
without water, basic sanitation or electricity."

The country has been rocked by service delivery protests, some of which
turned violent, particularly against foreigners.

Zuma said it was part of democracy that people had the right to take to
the streets in protest if they were unhappy. "However, they lose our
support if the protests are accompanied by violence."

He said the police had been instructed to respond with "sensitivity" to
law-abiding protesters.

However, they had been told to take "swift action" against those who
broke the law.

Zuma said he intended to have "intensive interaction" with local
government officials.

This was in order to hear first hand what problems they faced.

"It is tempting to shout at colleagues in local government and say they
are not doing their work. But we need to go deeper than that and check
what kind of support the government provides provincially and nationally
to local government, especially in the very rural municipalities with no

Zuma also said the 500 000 job opportunities promised in his State of
the Nation address were not necessarily permanent jobs.

o This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on
July 27, 2009

Zuma's dilemma as delivery protests spread
Legalbrief Africa 27 July 2009

The very people that swept Jacob Zuma to power just over three months
ago - the poorest of the poor - have turned their wrath on the new
regime with a wave of service delivery protests that have turned violent
and resulted, in some instances, in a resurgence of the xenophobia that
plagued South Africa just over a year ago.

In addition, over the past few months, South Africa has had to contend
with strikes in the construction, communications, transport and mining
sectors as unions and companies thrash out the best possible pay deals
during a global recession. And, notes Legalbrief, a crippling strike of
state workers got under way on Monday. According to a report on the site, angry crowds last week burnt tyres, hurled stones at
the police and passers-by and turned on foreigners. In many cases, law
enforcement officials had to use gas and rubber bullets to quell
violence in areas such as Diepsloot, Piet Retief, Rustenburg, Meyerton,
Zeerust, Milnerton and Khayelitsha. On Thursday about 30 foreigners in
Balfour in the Mpumulanga province sought refuge at a police station,
fearing for their lives. And in Durban, members of the SA Unemployed
People's Movement went on the rampage, looting shops. According to a
report on the News24 site, about 100 people were arrested after a mob
stormed Shoprite Checkers and Pick n Pay supermarkets. Police said they
would be charged with looting and theft. The ruling African National
Congress (ANC) said it had a 'deep understanding' of the impact of poor
service delivery on South Africans and said it had put plans in place to
address the issues raised. 'The ANC, however, strongly condemns all
criminal acts in the form of violence against foreign nationals,
destruction of state and private property, and looting of shops in some
parts of the country under the guise of "service delivery protests",'
said party spokesperson Jessie Duarte. The Daily Dispatch reports that
the party's Youth League called on government officials to visit
communities to address the challenges they faced. Tensions between the
political and administrative sections of some municipalities were also
uncovered, as were financial mismanagement and allegations of fraud and
corruption. Some ward committees were not fully functional and therefore
not communicating properly with communities. Poor service delivery was
identified as the result of poor planning, maintenance and management of
infrastructure. A Mail & Guardian Online report notes that Co-operative
Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka also said the law must take its
course. 'We are not going to allow anybody (to) use illegal means to
achieve their objectives. We are saying this is a government that has
been elected democratically, anything that is done must be done within
the law and the Constitution.'

Minister Tokyo Sexwale has blamed councillors elected during former
President Thabo Mbeki's administration for the violent protests. Sexwale
said people were not against Zuma's government, but against the
municipalities aligned to the previous ANC administration. The Sunday
Times reports that Sexwale said it was 'inconceivable' that people could
revolt against Zuma's government, which had been established just three
months ago. 'There is a disconnect between us (leaders) and our people.
This is quite clear. The people are not demonstrating against a three
month-old government. They voted us into power three months ago. They
are simply saying leaders in the past have done things wrong and they
want to tell us.'

Zuma has responded to the delivery protests by acknowledging the right
of people to take to the streets, but also warned against violence,
saying the government would enforce the law. A Business Day report
quotes him as saying: 'Our Constitution allows our people the right of
freedom of assembly and expression, and to protest where they feel they
need to, but this must be done within the ambit of the law. There can be
no justification for violence, looting and destruction of property or
attacks on foreign nationals. The law enforcement agencies will continue
to act swiftly and to take action against all who break the law.'
Addressing a rally in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, Zuma acknowledged that
the government had fallen short in the past 15 years. 'The troubles we
are seeing in our townships prove to us that there is much work to do
and much to repair. But there must not be violence between us. Let us
work together,' Zuma is quoted as saying in a Mail & Guardian Online
report. But Time magazine points out that Zuma faces a dilemma - the
very underclass that swept him into office last April on his promise to
deliver them a better life have run out of patience: 'As the global
economic downturn drags South Africa into its first recession since the
end of apartheid, such protests are likely to escalate, posing an acute
dilemma for the President. Zuma catapulted himself into the leadership
of the ANC and then the Presidency by championing the interests of those
left behind by the market-friendly economic policies of his predecessor,
Thabo Mbeki. Now those who elected Zuma are demanding that he deliver on
his promises, as the trade unions that played a key role in his power
play within the ANC demand payback, and the fury of the economically
marginalised escalates. But the recession and South Africa's potentially
vulnerable position in international capital markets give Zuma little
room to stray from Mbeki's policies. The trade unions are certainly
feeling empowered.'

South Africa has lost more than half a million working days due to
strikes in the first six months of the year- nearly double the number
over the same period last year. Andrew Levy Employment Publications
tracks strike activity around the country. The Times reports that Jackie
Kelly, labour analyst for the company, said that by the end of last
month more than 500 000 working days had been lost to strike action. 'At
the end of June 2007, however, we had lost 11.5-million working days.
This was largely due to the public sector strike... what we are finding
is that we don't have as many strikes as we used to have, but we have
more workers involved in a particular strike,' said Kelly.
Full report in The Times

Protests: Rethinking the crisis
Imraan Baccus, M&G thoughtleader

Recent shocking images of the police shooting at South Africa’s poorest
citizens were beamed around the world as people in poor communities were
protesting. The damage to the country caused by these images that looked
like a flashback to the 1980s is incalculable.

There were more than 6 000 protests in 2005 and one academic has
calculated that this makes South Africa “the most protest-rich country
in the world”. With the rate of protests at local level currently, we
are set to break that record.

However, despite the incredible scale of these protests, analysts have
battled to properly understand them. There have been many problems with
local government, including a lack of capacity, too much influence over
service provision by party and business interests and, in some
instances, outright corruption. But the one consistent problem is a
technocratic top-down approach to policy formulation and implementation
that assumes that experts should make unilateral decisions on behalf of
communities. This kind of approach has been tried, and rejected after
decades of painful experience in places such as Port Alegre in Brazil
and Kerala in India. The wave of community protests across South Africa
indicates a clear rejection of top-down local governance here too.

Quite clearly, the people organising and participating in these protests
are very seldom given a chance to speak about what they think, what they
are doing and why.

We need to remember that democracy is not ruled by experts. That is
oligarchy. Democracy is ruled by the people. If we pay attention to the
thinking of people organising and participating in these protests, one
thing becomes immediately clear. And that is that these protests are in
response to a crisis of local democracy rather than a crisis of service

It is true enough that in most instances failed service or misguided
delivery is where things begin to go wrong. But even here the problems
with service delivery are often due to a lack of democratic public
participation in decision-making.

For instance if people are not consulted about whether it is in their
interests to be moved from urban shacks to RDP houses, protest is likely
even though service delivery is happening.

But time and again people organising these protests explain that they
didn’t take to the streets because of failed or misguided service delivery.

They explain that they took to the streets because there was no way for
them to get to speak to government, let alone to get government to
listen to them.

For as long as government officials continue to assume that a mandate at
the polls gives them a mandate to act in a unilateral and top-down
manner for five years, these protests will continue.

Ordinary South Africans had a taste of popular democracy in the great
democratic upsurge of the 1980s and expect the post-liberation democracy
to take the same popular form — to be ruled by the people rather than by
experts. Especially now, with the Zuma administration in power, poor
people expect him to be the “service delivery president” because he
embodies the aspirations of millions of poor people.

This level of intense social conflict is potentially very damaging to
society and could, for instance, be extremely embarrassing come 2010.
Imagine if the eyes of the world turn to us to see an action replay of
the 1980s with burning tyres, teargas, rubber bullets and pitched
battles between the very poor and the police on our streets.

Already both police and protesters are taking an increasingly hard-line
stance with very negative social consequences.

These protests are clearly about a crisis of local democracy. It is the
nature of local democracy that needs to change.

The government needs to take public participation seriously and to
recognise that ordinary people have every right to be part of the
deliberations and decision-making that will affect their lives. And
commentators and experts, be they in the media, NGOs or the academy,
need to learn that they should listen carefully to the voice of the poor
rather than just make easy assumptions about what they think people are

Experts would like this crisis to only be about service delivery because
then the response to the crisis would be to bring in more expertise. But
a crisis of local democracy means less reliance on experts and taking
the intelligence and experience of ordinary people more seriously. It
means fewer Powerpoint presentations and more community meetings. And we
wait anxiously for Minister Shiceka’s turnaround strategy for local
government expected by the end of 2009.

Protests due to lack of public engagement: COPE

CAPE TOWN - The Congress of the People (Cope) has condemned the rise of
violent service delivery protests witnessed countrywide in recent weeks
and called for urgent public debate on the matter.

In a statement on Monday, Cope parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala also
condemned the government’s response to the protests with “increased
police brutality and suggestions that a third force is at play”.

High-level delegation visits could only bring temporary solutions to the
affected areas.

Cope saw government’s failure to communicate effectively with its
citizens the cause of the protests. Media reports had recorded
protesting citizens bemoaning and voicing their demands, including
mayors and councillors not talking with or even responding to
communities regarding their concerns.

President Jacob Zuma’s administration promised to do more working
together with South Africans, but the lack of communication and
engagement, and inability to encourage community participation by local
councillors, would lead to more uprisings.

“Instead of high-level delegations zigzagging the affected protest
areas, the ANC government should look no further than the Auditor
General’s report to deal with corruption in municipalities,” Dandala said.

The government should speed up dealing with the lack of competent
municipal managers, corrupt practices, including awarding tenders to
friends and families who delivered poor quality work, if any at all, and
also wasting public funds through outsourcing many functions to consultants.

Cope proposed an urgent genuine public debate to save local government
from collapse. The debate would be about what the government should be
doing to deliver the required services, instead of using undermining
“superficial izimbizo and PR gimmicks”.

This debate would encourage citizen participation to shape the manner in
which the government should render services across all spheres of
government, including municipalities.

“While we blame poor planning and lack of implementation by the Zuma
administration, we believe that government’s principle of 'batho-pele’
Špeople firstÆ should be defined by the citizens through public hearings
and debates that we are proposing.

“Our success as nation lies in a participatory democracy.”

Instead of perpetuating violent protests with political solutions such
as “the Khutsong Resolution”, involving citizens and staying in touch
with them to deal with their “bread and butter issues” would eliminate
the protests, Dandala said.
- Sapa

Xeno curse? Or is it another agenda?
Alan Skuy 27 July 2009

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has condemned attacks on foreigners in Mpumalanga.

The attacks, which have so far displaced about 100 foreigners living in
Balfour, are chillingly similar to the early stages of last year’s
xenophobic violence in which 67 people died around the country.

As with last year’s violence, the attacks in Mpumalanga happened under
the guise of protests against service delivery.

Residents began protesting on Sunday, demanding that local officials
address complaints about access to water and electricity, and job

But locals soon turned their attention to the foreign business-owners in
the Siyathemba township in Balfour.

They looted the businesses of Ethiopian, Pakistani and Chinese shop
owners. Several foreigners were assaulted.

Yesterday, about 100 displaced foreigners sought refuge at the Balfour
police station while police were trying to find temporary shelter for them.

Police have arrested 99 residents for public violence.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said: “We are yet to corroborate
the reports of violence in the service delivery protest in Mpumalanga.
However, the President’s view is that there is no excuse for violence or
destruction of property of any sort, including the targeting of foreign

“President Zuma has on numerous occasions spoken against xenophobia in
our country and he will continue to condemn it. The right to protest is
not at all a licence for violent behaviour.”

Jody Kollapen, chair of the SA Human Rights Commission, said: “Following
last year’s xenophobic violence, an uneasy calm settled and not enough
was done to understand the cause of the attacks.

“I am of the strong view that the violence is a result of socio-economic
ills and a perception among South Africans that they are being
marginalised. They see the foreign nationals as unfair competition.”

Kollapen said there had not been a thorough investigation of last year’s
violence or prosecution of perpetrators. “This was not enough to send a
strong message that it should not happen again,” he said.

The Times reported in February that only 128 of the 1400 suspects
arrested for xenophobic attacks were convicted and sentenced.

Kollapen said not enough was done to understand the root causes of the

“Was it xenophobia, was it socio-economic problems? If these were
identified then proper programmes should have been put in place across
the board, from government to civil society.”

In recent months violence included attacks on foreigners, Kollapen said.
“This is a competition for resources.”

Pakistani grocery store owner Mohamed Waqas, who has lived in Balfour
for five years, said: “There was no warning. On Sunday night someone on
a loudspeaker (called) for protest action. They then barricaded the road
with rocks and the police told us to leave. I feel so bad because we
have worked so hard, but now everything is gone ... it’s finished.”

Service delivery protests
Iraj Abedian – CEO, Pan African Investment and Research
23 July 2009 23:08

FELICITY DUNCAN: Violent protests have flared up in townships across the
country as citizens protest the government's poor service delivery
record. Iraj Abedian is the CEO of Pan African Investment and Research.
Iraj, government is in a real bind. On the one hand it has angry
citizens who want a better life, and on the other they have a slowing

IRAJ ABEDIAN: Absolutely. At the same time politically they have created
the expectation and parts of the citizenry's active or angry reaction is
in response to the expectations created by the new government. And of
course, financially they are in a bind. The other bind that they are in,
and that's a serious bind, is the lack of capacity to respond quickly.
Government would agree at the highest level that yes, the citizens are
right, services have to be improved - and the capacity to improve
services is a completely different game altogether.

FELICITY DUNCAN: What sort of options are there for government? Given
we've already got an extensive infrastructure programme and some public
works programmes, what else can they actually really do?

IRAJ ABEDIAN: A number of things. One is to not treat the situation as
business as usual. When you treat the situation as business as unusual,
you then manage your resources very differently - for example, as we
speak, despite all the political talk much of the inefficiency, abuse of
the resources and even corruption within municipalities is rampant, and
at provincial level. So ... things have to be stopped in order to
generate resources. Secondly, different ways of doing business. We see a
great deal of laissez-faire spend within the top structures of
government - in fact, right through. All those inefficiencies or
over-indulgences have to be curtailed. Thirdly, and possible more
importantly, there's got to be a team re-examining the resource
utilisation or application of funds, if you like, in terms of priorities
within the state to make sure that first and foremost resources are
applied to where they are needed most.

FELICITY DUNCAN: With the recent appointment of Gill Marcus as the
Governor of the Reserve Bank, a lot of commentators read that as
government saying "we are not going to change the current structures we
have in place for macroeconomic policy". Is that your sense also - that
the government is still committed to that kind of conservative management?

IRAJ ABEDIAN: The appointment really pertains to monetary policy, and
that for me signifies that monetary policy is too important to
politicise. We have to have a solid and competent pair of hands to take
care of that monetary policy. Whether there will be changes at the
margin or not is irrelevant if you do it competently, and any change can
be done without compromising the macroeconomic stability within the
country. But outside the monetary policy area or the Reserve Bank,
within the state we haven't seen much of a change towards tightening the
loops, if you like, and getting inefficiencies expunged out of the system.

FELICITY DUNCAN: So we are not actually really seeing perhaps the
political will to drive through the kind of changes that might be a bit
different to drive through?

IRAJ ABEDIAN: Exactly. We actually have seen no indication yet that
tough political decisions in terms of getting rid of some of the
incompetent top management, getting rid of some of the wasteful spend,
rethinking and rearranging resource use, etc. None of that yet - and
that's where I think the frustration of the citizenry is coming to play.

FELICITY DUNCAN: Iraj Abedian is the CEO of Pan African Investment and



10 arrested for delivery protest
2009-02-24 10:40

Johannesburg - Ten people were arrested on Tuesday after residents from
the Sweetwaters informal settlement in Orange Farm, Vereeniging, blocked
roads and burnt tyres to protest against a lack of service delivery,
police said.

“Residents began protesting at 02:45, outside a shopping complex in
Orange Farm,” said Captain Thado Mashobane.

He said an angry mob of almost 150 people blocked roads, burnt tyres and
threw stones. They then assaulted two councillors who live in the area.

“They are up in arms because houses, toilets and roads promised to them
by councillors in the area, were not yet built.”

He said police were called in to calm down the situation.

“The protesters then dispersed, but we managed to arrest 10 people for
public violence.”

The situation was calm at the moment, Mashobane said. The 10 people will
appear in the Vereeniging Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.


Evictees brave cold as they await verdict
By Eleanor Momberg Sunday Independent 26 July 2009

A group of children played house among broken bottles, plastic bags and
other rubbish dumped on a farm outside Meyerton on Saturday as their
parents contemplated what the future held for them.

The community of about 80 people, of whom half are children, have been
homeless in freezing weather since being evicted from Beer’s Farm,
where some had lived for more than 40 years.

Now they have nowhere to go, spending their days next to bonfires among
their belongings piled in the veld about 5km from their former homes.

The plight of the Beer’s Farm community erupted in a war of words
between the DA-controlled Midvaal municipality and the ANC-controlled
Sedibeng district municipality last week with Midvaal accusing their
neighbours of instigating a land invasion.

In 2008, the Midvaal municipality obtained a court order for the
demolition of shacks on the farm.

Papers were served on the farm owners, but not on the community living

According to papers filed in the South Gauteng High Court on Friday,
the farm’s caretaker had told the community their homes were to be
demolished and that they had to vacate the premises by mid-December

But, the community had informed the caretaker that they would be unable
to comply as they had nowhere else to go.

On June 26, the Red Ants arrived and placed the community’s lives in limbo.

Their possessions were removed from their homes, their shacks and
houses torn down, and the corrugated iron and other building materials

No alternate land had been made available to them.

With the help of local community leaders, the group was moved to the
Michael Rua Primary School where they were allowed to stay until
schools re-opened on the Monday.

Bheki Ngobesa, a local community leader, said attempts were made to
find a solution to the problem with talks being held with Midvaal mayor
Timothy Nast.

When no progress was made, Ngobesa called in the help of Sedibeng mayor
Mahole Mofokeng.

It was then decided that the group would be moved to Sicelo, but that
community threatened to kill their potential new neighbours as they
would be occupying land set aside for their own houses, causing that
plan to be shelved.

On Sunday, agreement was reached between the Sedibeng municipality and
the owner of Pielie’s Farm to temporarily move the group there.

The Sedibeng municipality made available 25 containers that had been
turned into dwellings to provide adequate shelter.

But, when the first container arrived on Monday, the Red Ants moved in
again saying they had been instructed by the Midvaal municipality to
remove the Beer’s Farm residents to Sicelo.

The remaining containers could not be delivered as the situation
deteriorated and children were stopped by the Red Ants from going to

On Wednesday morning the community blocked the R59 demanding that their
story be heard.

“We knew what we were doing was wrong, but we just wanted someone to
listen to us,” said Ngobesa about the protest that had seen police open
fire on the settlers as they dispersed.

The Midvaal municipality on Thursday turned to the courts seeking an
urgent interdict against Ngobesa to ban him from having contact with
the community.

The matter has been postponed.

On Friday the community turned to the South Gauteng High Court for
relief, bringing an urgent application to be returned to Beer’s Farm.

The initial court order had been obtained against the farm’s owners,
Joseph and Sizakele Ramakhoase.

The Midvaal municipality on Friday offered to temporarily house the
community in eight containers on a piece of land behind the Meyerton
fire station.

But, the community refused, saying the site was too far from their
children’s schools and their workplaces.

They would rather brave the cold and remain in the veld until the case
was heard on Tuesday.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Sunday
Independent on July 26, 2009

Council workers to strike from Monday
24 July 2009

Telkom, rail workers may also protest
South African council workers are to strike over wages from Monday,
unions said, in a move that could hit public services when thousands of
people have been protesting over poor housing and unemployment.

A chemical sector union was also on Friday considering an improved pay
offer to end a separate strike, while transport workers at the national
rail operator are to decide on Monday whether to take industrial action.

Africa’s biggest economy has been hit by a wave of strikes over wages
during the salary negotiations season, as well as protests about poor
services, increasing pressure on new President Jacob Zuma who rose to
power with union backing.

The demonstrations have so far had little impact on markets but analysts
have warned that this could change if strike action continues for long
and became more widespread.

Zuma, facing added pressure from unrest in townships, said police will
move swiftly to crack down on rioters after violent protests erupted
this week over poor services and jobs.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and Independent
Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU), which say say they represent
150000 council workers, resolved to strike, after rejecting a proposal
of an 11,5% increase.

“We can confirm the strike is going ahead on Monday. Both unions have a
mandate to strike. We will only rescind that strike call when there is
any offer from management,” SAMWU spokesman Stephen Faulkner said.

He said union officials would meet Cooperative Governance Minister
Sicelo Shiceka later in the day.

“We are hopeful there will be some outcome and we can then put that to
our members early next week (but) the strike is definitely going ahead.”

A strike could see among others, refuse and transportation workers,
licensing officers and city police stay at home.

The country’s powerful unions helped propel Zuma to power in an April
election on a pro-poor platform. But instead of an expected cosy
relationship, they are using their most powerful weapon — strikes — to
press their agenda.

A chemical sector strike, which began on Monday, may stretch into next
week despite an improved offer from employers.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union
(CEPPWAWU) said employers had raised their wage hike offer but to a
level still below the union’s demand of at least a 10% rise.

Its deputy general secretary Thabane Mdlalose said the strike would
continue while the union consulted its members.

“We don’t think we will get an agreement now, but we need to take it to
our members and have them decide,” he told Reuters.

The union expects to meet with employers on Saturday or Sunday, he said,
adding that talks continued with employers in the pharmaceuticals and
paper sectors, with offers unchanged.

African Oxygen, Africa’s biggest gas and welding firm, said it was
monitoring the impact of the strike on its customers while it awaited
the union’s response.

“Priority has been given to medical facilities normally supplied from
Afrox operations where personnel are on strike,” said spokesman Simon

Affected companies also include South African petrochemicals group Sasol
and chemicals firm Omnia. Telecoms group Telkom will also be impacted by
a communications workers protest.

“We will give Telkom a 48-hour notice to strike on Monday,” said Gallant
Robert, general secretary for the Communications Workers Union.

Gold and coal unions are considering a pay offer. If they reject it
stoppages will hit some of the world’s biggest mines.

Workers in the coal sectors will announce on Tuesday whether they accept
an improved offer from mining firms.


SA increasing its lead as most ‘protest rich’ state

The surge in protests against poor service delivery could lead to South
Africa breaking its 2005 record as the world’s most ‘protest rich’ country.

By Nivashni Nair and Werner Swart

The surge in protests against poor service delivery could lead to South
Africa breaking its 2005 record as the world’s most “protest rich” country.

Experts also warn that protests in this country could become more
violent as the poor lose patience with the lack of basic services.

An academic specialist in participatory democracy, Imraan Buccus, told
The Times that the number of protests this year could exceed the 6000
reported in 2005.

With the changing political climate, protests have increased
dramatically since the beginning of the year. And, in some instances,
the marches have turned into playgrounds for xenophobia and violence.

Buccus attributes the soaring number of protests to “top down” politics,
in which communities are left out of decision making.

“Communities seldom participate in decisions which affect them, like
moving them from one area to another.

“When formal participation, such as imbizos fails, and local government
makes the decisions on its own, communities feel the only way to be
heard is by protesting,” Buccus explained.

He said communities are coming to the belief that protests might force
decisions to be swayed in their favour.

The head of the Centre for Service Delivery, at the Human Sciences
Research Council, Udesh Pillay, warned that the ruling party could find
itself in trouble if it fails to speed up service delivery.

Pillay said many voters felt increasingly disillusioned after placing
their confidence in the Jacob Zuma government.

“They were all expecting a Zuma government to deliver — and to deliver
soon. People are getting more impatient; they have been waiting a long
time for basic services,” he said.

Asked if he thought slow delivery could lead to the ANC being ousted,
Pillay said: “People vote with their feet. If we have the same situation
15 years from now, the ANC will have to be worried about its comfort levels.

“I think if they don’t deliver soon, there is likely to be a significant
backlash, perhaps even in the next five years.”

Pillay believes that protests will become more violent.

“If municipalities don’t communicate their plans [to the people],
telling them this is what we [plan to] do, I see the protests becoming
more violent,” he said.

Protests press Zuma to live up to promises
Michael Georgy 24 July 2009

Violent riots and threats of a fresh wave of crippling labour strikes
may force South African President Jacob Zuma to deliver quickly on
election promises and risk scaring investors in Africa’s biggest

Just three months after his African National Congress’s (ANC) sweeping
election victory, township violence is boiling over in scenes
reminiscent of unrest during apartheid.

Charismatic and persuasive, Zuma raised high hopes in his election
campaign, vowing to help millions of blacks still living in shacks 15
years after the ANC came to power.

Now the riots have injected urgency into the task, and Zuma is limited
by the first recession in Africa’s biggest economy in 17 years. He must
also reassure foreign investors he will be cautious about spending and
not steer the economy to the left.

“Now we are seeing an early test. We are seeing a very visible sign of
the extent of discontent, something that hadn’t really been on
investors’ radar screens,” said Razia Khan, regional head of research
for Africa at Standard Chartered.

“This is something that will sit uncomfortably over the longer term for
anyone really concerned about potential next steps, what can be done
given the extent of discontent.”

Trouble on many fronts
Zuma faces trouble on several fronts. Labour union allies who helped
his rise have wasted no time in pushing hard for leftist economic
policies that could unnerve investors.

Labour demands are piling up by the day as frustrations spread in
townships where police fired rubber bullets and teargas this week at
protesters who hurled stones at them.

A fuel sector union agreed to an improved 9,5% wage offer on Thursday,
but warned it may yet strike in sympathy with paper and chemical
workers who downed tools this week.

Council workers are threatening to stay at home from Monday, action
that could keep tens of thousands of local government employees at
home, crippling the public sector.

Gold and coal unions are considering a pay offer. If they reject it
stoppages will hit some of the world’s biggest mines.

New strikes could delay efforts to improve basic services, raising the
possibility of new riots erupting.

Township residents are calling for the removal of local ANC officials
they accuse of corruption and gross neglect of communities lacking
jobs, housing, sanitation and medical care.

Even if Zuma had the resources, throwing money at the problem would not
help because of the extent of incompetence and corruption in local
government, analysts say.

“Even if they put together a Marshall plan at this stage we know that
local government capacity is a huge problem,” said political analyst
Susan Booysen.

“It’s almost a brick wall into which all excitement about democracy and
participation and improvement of life just crashes.”

So far, the rage is focused on local authorities and township residents
say it is too early to judge Zuma.

But the long-term credibility of the man who portrays himself as the
champion of the poor may rest on whether he takes decisive action
against local government officials.

That was clear in flashpoint Siyathemba township. When local mayor
Lefty Tsotetsi arrived in an armoured police vehicle to address
thousands of seething residents, it was too risky for him to step out
of the vehicle.

Young men, some carrying clubs and pipes, said they have been
unemployed for years and accused him of living a life of luxury and
handing out jobs to relatives and friends.

He later promised to improve services. No one seemed to believe the
mayor and a new house he is building was torched.

Zuma told businessmen late on Thursday that although the government
acknowledged problems with delivering basic services, looting, violence
and the destruction of property could not be justified.

Tough security measures could deepen alienation.

In Siyathemba, some spoke of a policeman named Doctor who they say was
brutal in dealing with the unrest. “He will die like a dog,” several
young men threatened.

“A crackdown is often going to be difficult, Zuma has to maintain his
approach in being more open, more consultative and try to utilise the
space that is open, in terms of engagement, that is where the short
term solution can come about,” said Eurasia Group analyst Mike Davies.

For now, a weak opposition and South Africa’s peculiar political system
could work in Zuma’s favour. The same incensed people who protest
against poor services are the biggest backers of the ANC, mainly
because it led the fight against apartheid.

“They don’t just vote they throw bricks as well. It’s a very awkward
type of political culture we have. We have practised that now for quite
a number of years. And protest in South Africa does not necessarily
mean instability,” said Booysen. -- Reuters

So many questions
Nathi Mthethwa (Sunday Times) 25 July 2009

Service delivery protests have raised the spectre of more xenophobic
attacks of the kind witnessed last year. Chris Barron asked police
minister Nathi Mthethwa ...

What are your intelligence sources telling you? Are we in for a repeat
of last year’s violence?

Well, there are protests which are violent in nature. When there are
such instances of economic distress, anywhere in the world, you do have
attacks on immigrants, violence that targets immigrants in particular.

Do you have any evidence of third-force involvement?

We have not had any third force. What we have seen and witnessed is
that in some instances you have genuine protests about certain issues.
In others it tends to be politicised and made into a political football.

Given ongoing service delivery problems and an influx of immigrants, is
it a situation the police can contain?

It has to be contained.


It needs a whole host of community players to play their role in not
stirring up some of these negative things against foreign nationals. It
also needs some pre-emptive measures, because as I say: when you have
genuine concerns which are raised by people on the one hand, and on the
other you have individuals, or people, who use that for political gain,
then the situation becomes explosive. Our communities have the right to
protest, so they must themselves isolate those who want to hijack their
genuine concerns and become violent, as it were.

Are you keeping an eye on community leaders?

Well, the police are keeping an eye on issues of law and order. Because
some community leaders themselves are victims, so to speak.

In what way?

Some of their houses have been torched and their property, and all those

Haven’t some of them also been involved in the xenophobic attacks?

Well, there we have a very straightforward approach that anybody who is
involved in criminality, that person has to face the full might of the

But they haven’t faced the full might of the law, have they?

Which community leader are you talking about?

Research of last year’s violence suggests that community leaders were
involved and not much action was taken against them.

Just mention one leader to me. What’s his name?

Don’t the police know who these individuals are?

You come back to me when you’ve got his name and let’s take it from there.

Are the police on high alert at the moment?

The police are always on high alert, especially in such situations. But
we can’t always know who is involved in the political stirring-up of
people. Because, as I say, whilst there are genuine concerns, there are
people, not third force, who are using this for their own political
gain. Why would it be, three months after the election and having a
party voted into office overwhelmingly, that people would come and say,
here and now, that they’re not happy with the government to an extent
that property is damaged and people are killed? So we don’t know. You
and I may have good intentions but we don’t know elsewhere, in one of
the corners of South Africa, somebody with bad intentions may come and
stir up the people.

Are the police better prepared for xenophobic violence than they were
last year?

That violence has to be quelled. Our approach is that violence is
violence, whether it is committed against foreigners or against South
Africans. If you go around and damage property and that property
happens to belong to a South African or it happens to belong to a
non-South African, it’s all the same to us.

What lessons did the police learn from last year?

Well, as you know, we have a history of institutional violence, and
some of the things we are seeing today we are reaping from that

Did you learn anything that will help you cope better with this sort of

When any acts of violence are flaring up we must get into the
situation. And this is what the law enforcement agencies have been

Are you ready to react more quickly than you did last year?

Where police hear that something is going to happen they would act.
But, as I say, when somewhere in one corner there is something
happening, we are not sangomas to foretell that in this particular area
there is going to be trouble so that police could be involved there
before it happens.

Aren’t your intelligence networks working well enough to give you early

We have been given warning about the violent nature of what is happening
now, and that is what we are acting on.

Protests are Mbeki’s fault, says Sexwale
Moipone Malefane 25 July 2009

SINS OF THE PAST: Tokyo Sexwale

VENTING THEIR SPLEEN: Siyathemba township in Balfour, Mpumalanga, was
the scene of violent protests over the government’s lack of service
delivery this week Picture: ALON SKUY

‘People are angry at municipalities aligned to former regime’

‘They are simply saying leaders in the past have done things wrong and
they want to tell us’

‘(The) housing (department) has built 2.8 million houses. Housing is not
a problem but poverty is’

Human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale has blamed councillors elected
during former President Thabo Mbeki’s administration for the latest
wave of violent protests at service delivery.

Sexwale said people were not against President Jacob Zuma’s government,
but against the municipalities aligned to the previous administration.

Sexwale said it was “inconceivable that people could revolt against
Zuma’s government, which had been established just three months ago.

“There is a disconnect between us (leaders) and our people. This is
quite clear. The people are not demonstrating against a three month-old

“They voted us into power three months ago. They are simply saying
leaders in the past have done things wrong and they want to tell us.”

Sexwale did not mince his words, adding that “ this is a new
administration, although we are a continuing government of the ANC.
That is why Polokwane happened. We needed change”.

He emphasised that people wanted the government to hear about the
challenges they have had to face for a long time.

However, he warned the protesters that blockading roads, looting, and
burning buildings “was not on and would not resolve the problems. It is
not acceptable to use methods of violence to bring the message to us.”

He said he had been studying the situation in all areas where the
violent protests had erupted, adding that many wanted jobs before

“It is a fact that (the) housing (department) has built 2.8 million
houses, whether good or bad. Housing is not a problem but poverty is.”

Sexwale said he visited Diepsloot informal settlement (in Gauteng) last
week. “Most (of the people there) were clear that they did not want

There are 2000 informal settlements in the country and Sexwale said he
intended to visit all of them.

“I want to go back to Diepsloot and sleep over with my officials to get
to understand the problem. There has been a disconnect between them and
the leaders, which has left our people at the hands of some
unscrupulous mayors and councillors.”

Sexwale said that during his visit to Diepsloot, “a lot of people asked
for jobs. People’s problems vary and are different. We cannot come with
a one-size-fits-all strategy to resolve them.

“For instance, there is a man who runs a successful taxi business in
Diepsloot who does not want to be moved but wants services like water,
toilets and electricity in the area.”

Sexwale said other people had become landlords, owning about four
shacks in their back yards and charging monthly rentals of R800.

“These are people who have to be moved because their houses are built
on a sewage pipe but they are worried about their business. So do we
destroy that economy or listen to them and plan accordingly?”

But he said human settlement was about more than housing. “The crisis
now is about urbanisation, a challenge that was at some point going to
catch up with the new South Africa. All metropolitan areas have had an
influx of people looking for wealth.”

He explained that, as was the case worldwide, many people had left
rural areas and settled in places where there was a lack of basic
services because they wanted to live in urban areas and look for work.

Sexwale said the problem had been compounded by the global recession,
when the economy needed 6% growth.

“The global downturn has put more pressure on us.”


24 July 2009

Calm returns in Mpumalanga township after violent protest
July 23 2009

Calm has returned to Siyathemba township in Balfour, Mpumalanga. Unrest
broke out and police and residents fought running battles in the streets
yesterday. Residents were unhappy over the lack of service delivery in
the area.

Police used rubber bullets throughout yesterday evening to disperse the
crowds who gathered around burning tyres. Violence flared on earlier
yesterday when the mayor of Dipaleseng municipality, Mr Tsotetsi,
addressed the protesters. As he was leaving residents stoned police
armoured vehicles. Police retaliated by firing rubber bullets and tear

This led to running battles in the streets of the township. On Sunday
residents burnt a municipal building and looted shops owned by Pakistan
and Somali nationals. They say they were just venting their anger. They
have vowed to keep protesting until their demands are met.

Ceasefire in Thokoza until Saturday

A temporary ceasefire was reached in Thokoza, east of Johannesburg, but
residents have warned the local municipality to speed up service delivery.

By Werner Swart

A temporary ceasefire was reached in Thokoza, east of Johannesburg
yesterday, but residents have warned the local municipality to speed up
service delivery if they don’t want a repeat of Tuesday’s violent protests.

Members of the Ekurhuleni Metro met community leaders yesterday, and
promised to report back on the community’s grievances on Saturday.

Calm was restored to the hostel where up to 4500 people live in derelict
buildings. In some parts of the hostel, a single toilet services about
250 people.

Community leader Physical Buthelezi told The Times he hoped the council
was serious about addressing their needs.

“We have been without electricity since 1997. We have been asking them
for help, and now when we protest, they finally come and talk to us. I
hope they are serious this time.”

Buthelezi claimed that the violent nature of the protest was “not our

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and arrested 35 people
for public violence.

“People are angry and frustrated. We can ask people to be calm, but life
is tough here. We will explain to the community that they [Ekurhuleni
Metro] are looking into this, but if nothing happens, we can’t say
nothing will happen,” he warned

Ward councillor Cassius Nkosi, who attended the meeting, said the
council would form a task team to deal specifically with residents’ demands.

“We agreed that the issue of electricity and sanitation must be handled
urgently. We are not saying it will happen immediately, but we will try
and solve it within months.

“We also told the community our long-term plans are to develop the
hostels,” said Nkosi.

Captain Mega Ndobe said the 35 people arrested for public violence were
all released on bail and will appear in court again on August 19.

Ekurhuleni Metro spokesman Prince Hamnca confirmed that the council’s
speaker, Patricia Kumalo, would be returning to Thokoza on Saturday.

“We think the preliminary discussions went well,” she said.

Foreigners hide at cop station
News24 23 July 2009

Johannesburg - About 30 foreign nationals sought refuge at the Balfour
police station fearing for their lives, Mpumalanga police said on Thursday.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said they had been at the police station since

"Residents in the Siyathemba Township went on a rampage and threw stones
at the foreigners, who then went to the police station because that was
where they felt safe."

Shops were looted and tyres burnt along roads during service delivery
protests in the area. A group of residents also threw stones at local
Mayor Lefti Tsotetsi's home on Wednesday and allegedly attempted to set
it alight.

"They lit the garage and hoped it would spread to the rest of the house,
but the police quickly responded and the fire was contained."

The home was under construction at the time and the mayor was not there.
Police arrested one person at the scene.

Police and other roleplayers had helped to clean the area after the
rampage. No injuries were reported.

"We do not condone this sort of behaviour and anyone participating in
such a rampage will be arrested."

Service delivery tribunals' mooted
ANC Political Bureau 23 July 2009

ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa has suggested that tribunals be set
up to hold errant officials to account and allow citizens to voice their
complaints over the lack of services.

He made the suggestion at the Discovery Leadership Summit in Sandton

Phosa said transparency, accountability, ethical standards and "the very
best practice" in public sector corporate governance should be "points
of departure" for the government.

He said forums should be considered "where the public can voice their
dissatisfaction with bad service, and where they can get answers within
days" - and where officials failing to carry out their duties could be
disciplined or fined.

"We should have an open discussion about mobile 'same day' tribunals… to
build a proud and people-friendly public service," Phosa said.

He also emphasised the importance of partnerships.

"One of the ways in which we can lead our country into a future defined
as a better life for all is to give real meaning to the term
partnership… and a new focus on assisting the government to call on
business and its international partners to find the very best people and
practices to address some complex challenges facing us in delivering
services," he said.

"Such an approach should be characterised by more openness, more
willingness to serve, and less selfish turf battles and bureaucratic

Angry citizens want public hearings on service delivery problems
Cathy Mohlahlana, Nomsa Maseko and Gia Nicolaides 23 July 2009

Siyatemba in Mpumalanga remained tense on Wednesday as police battled to
bring the situation under control.

Thousands of people were addressed by their local mayor who promised to
address their concerns in the next month but residents took to the
streets again.

Chaos broke out as the mayor finished addressing them.

He was about to leave the stadium when thousands of residents started
stoning police nyalas.

Police were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd.

Fires were started again with sirens blaring across from the other side
of the township.


The Human Rights Commission was urged to conduct public hearings into
poor service delivery across the country.

Angry residents in Thokoza on the East Rand said government must be held
accountable for their suffering.

Armed police remain on high alert in the township for more violent protests.

Community leader Nzipho Khalipha said the state must give reasons for
slow service delivery.

“These are genuine concerns. People’s expectations were raised. There
are ways of dealing with this issue and they are not going to be
subjected to such brutality, when they were shot at by the police and we
must be seen as respecting the law.”

Shop invasion - 100 poor people held over looting of stores
Canaan Mdletshe 23 July 2009

NOWHERE TO RUN: Some of the unemployed people in Durban lie on the floor under police guard after they were caught looting groceries at a Shoprite store in West Street yesterday.

RAIDED: Police stop Durban’s unemployed people from leaving with
groceries they looted from the Pick n Pay store at the Workshop shopping
centre yesterday. The people, who were later arrested, are protesting
over the government’s failure to address their needs.

MEMBERS of the SA Unemployed People’s Movement went on the rampage
yesterday afternoon, looting shops in Durban’s city centre.

The movement, which claims to represent 26 million unemployed people in
the country, had warned during last week’s protest that if they don’t
get a positive response from the municipality they would unleash their
members to loot.

Nearly 200 people gathered yesterday morning and a decision to loot
shops was taken. People, mostly women, went to Shoprite Checkers while
others went to Pick n Pay.

Sowetan witnessed people carrying grocery items from the stores.

A cashier at Pick n Pay, who asked not to be named, said they were busy
helping customers when the group of unemployed people came into the
store and loaded groceries into trolleys.

“At first I thought it was a joke but when the group started singing
freedom songs and going past the tills without paying I realised they
were serious.”

At Shoprite one member of the group chanted “Amandla”, as he was led
into a police van.

This made some of the members, who had not been arrested, pledge their
support by accompanying their colleagues to the Durban central police
station, where they were kept.

Nozipho Mteshana, the movement’s national spokesperson, said what
happened in Durban was “ the beginning”.

She said they marched last week to the city hall, where they asked the
city’s authorities to forward their memorandum to the Presidency.

“We made it clear that if we don’t get a positive response from the
municipality to our grievances, we would allow people to loot shops,”
Mteshana said.

She warned that unless their demand for a basic income grant was met
more looting would take place.

“People are unemployed and those who had been working are losing their
jobs daily and our government is doing nothing.”

Police spokesperson Captain Khephu Ndlovu confirmed that 100 people were

“Fifty people were arrested at Shoprite in Smith Street. Of those
arrested , 35 were women and 15 men. And at Pick n Pay at the Workshop
Shopping Mall, 50 people were arrested, mainly women,” Ndlovu said.

Ndlovu said police had been informed of the gathering and decided to
deploy their members there.

“Had we not been there in great numbers the situation could have spun
out of control,” he said.

The people arrested are expected to appear at the Durban magistrate’s
court today to face charges of shoplifting or alternatively theft.

Farm raided - ANC and DA clash over moving of squatters
Ntwaagae Seleka 23 July 2009

HIGHWAY PROTEST: Angry residents of Pills Farm claim the Midvaal
municipality wants to replace them with business sites. PHOTOs: LEN KUMALO

TALKING OUT: Pills Farm community leader Bheki Ngobese

AN ANC-led group and the DA are on a collision course over the issue of
squatters near Meyerton.

Angry residents in the informal settlement accuse the DA
led-municipality of being racists.

Yesterday hundreds of the people from Pills Farm – next to the newly
built multi-million rand Heineken brewery – staged a protest along the
R59 highway to “highlight their frustration”.

They were backed by the ANC leader in the area, Bheki Ngobese, who said
the municipality wanted “to eradicate the informal settlement and
displace its residents” apartheid-style.

Midvaal mayor Timothy Nast rejected the claims.

Nast said the protests were politically motivated and an “invasion” of
private land.

He said the municipality was alerted to the invasion on Tuesday and
immediately notified the Red Ants to remove them.

“Klipriver police station then intervened and prevented us from putting
a stop to the farm invasion.

“Police members advised that a case first had to be opened at the local
police station but when our representatives attempted to do this, they
(police) simply refused to open such a case and openly admitted that
they were receiving orders from higher up.”

The protesters blocked the R59 with burning tyres and other objects,
disrupting traffic until police used force to disperse them.

The protesters claimed that Midvaal municipality wanted to forcefully
remove them from their settlement to allow big businesses to occupy
their land.

“The problem started when the municipality displaced more than 40
families from a nearby farm and dumped them in an open veld,” Ngobese said.

He said the families were homeless for more than a month until Sedibeng
municipality moved them to Pills Farm.

“Sedibeng tried to allocate them temporary containers where they could
stay. But, authorities at Midvaal refused the containers to be placed in
the informal settlement.”

He said that residents of Pills Farm had taken in the displaced families.

Police spokesperson Inspector Happy Nape said they have arrested 20
people for “public violence” who were expected to appear in court soon.

Crass materialism, post-Polokwane
Max Du Preez (The Star) 23 July 2009

Remember the grainy television images of the 1980s of rocks and burning
tyres in the streets, angry people throwing stones and petrol bombs and
policemen firing into crowds?

Those scenes depicted United Democratic Front structures making the
country ungovernable.

But we saw those same scenes again this past week.

In a dozen or so South African townships and squatter camps in several
provinces, people took to the streets to protest, so we're told,
"against slow service delivery".

"Service delivery" is becoming one of those meaningless euphemisms like
"unrest" was two decades ago.

The Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo
Shiceka, blamed the SA National Civic Organisation for stoking the fires
of protest.

Watch out, soon one of the government spokesmen is going to blame
"agitators", like the apartheid governments did from 1976 onwards.

We have to conclude that the overwhelming majority of those angry people
we see on television stoning cars and damaging property are supporters
of the ruling party.

Many of them are probably card-carrying members of the local ANC branch;
almost all of them voted for the ANC in April.

How do we know that? Well, look at the protest areas one by one: Orange
Farm, Du Noon, Khayelitsha, Zeerust, Diepkloof, Thokoza, Piet Retief and
others and check the voting patterns of these areas in April.

It would be safe to say that in most of these areas most black people
voted ANC just three months ago. If they felt uncomfortable voting for
the DA, they could have voted for the black-led Cope or even the UDM.
They didn't. They voted for Jacob Zuma, for the post-Polokwane ANC that
was going to be the friend of the people, the champion of the poor.

The elitist Thabo Mbeki faction had been defeated, now it was the time
for the masses.

Ja, right. It now appears that the new regime is no closer to the people
than the Mbeki lot. The gulf between ruling elite and ordinary township
dweller is as great as ever - another feature of the protest that can
compare with the township revolt of the 1980s, even though we have a
democracy now.

During the weeks that the township protests were raging, it became known
that former Umkhonto we Sizwe top brass and now Minister of
Communications, Siphiwe Nyanda, had spent R2 million of taxpayers' money
on two cars for himself - not just reliable, safe cars, which he really
should have at his disposal, but ultra luxurious rides with added bling
that would make any multimillionaire proud.

During the same time we hear that senior ANC figures refuse to stay in
the housing provided for them, and instead rent homes worth more than
R30 000 a month - again, using taxpayers' money. Sensitive, né?

And there are many other current examples of the post-Polokwane ANC's
new culture of crass materialism and entitlement.

A senior member of the Mbeki administration, now retired, remarked to me
the other day that the only real differences between the Mbeki-ANC and
the Zuma-ANC was that the level of debate was much lower now and the
centre of power had moved from the presidency to Luthuli House.

The old apartheid government always appointed a commission of inquiry or
a committee to investigate when something big went wrong.

Luthuli House's reaction (nobody is even bothering any more to find out
what the president is thinking about it) was to order an audit of the
record of service delivery in the country's municipalities.

Do the widespread and violent protests represent a major crisis? Yes,
they do. Then one really would expect more than the appointment of a
committee that will do an audit over the next few months.

How about sending senior ministers and directors-general and top ANC
officials out to the troubled areas today?

The old cliche of playing the fiddle while Rome burns inevitably comes
to mind.

The ANC's mental energies are right now concentrated on a debate whether
all South Africa's mines should be nationalised and on how the judiciary
could be manipulated so that they will end up with a Constitutional
Court that would be friendly to the ruling party.

I don't think the ANC has the political will to really solve the problem
of service delivery on a local level, because the problem lies with the
mayors, town managers and other municipal officials - and most of them
are prominent ANC functionaries.

Political patronage is still more important than the plight of the citizens.

ANC Youth League statement 23 July 2009

The ANC YL calls on all leaders and members of the ANC in all
communities affected by the service delivery strikes to be part of the
strikes and raise communities’ concerns and expose ultra motives if
there are any in all the protests. Dismissing the protests as unfounded
will not help resolve the situation, because in most instances, the
people have genuine concerns on issues of service delivery. Leaders of
the ANC government in all spheres should visit these communities to
properly understand their concerns and address their challenges in a
more suitable way. Mayors, Members of Mayoral Committees (MMCs) and
Members of Executive Councils (MECs) and leaders of the ANC in
communities should visit these communities to address the challenges of

Dismissing the concerns as products of a third force will never assist
the people’s challenges and will not help expose the ultra motives if
there are any. The ANC Youth League also calls on members of protesting
communities to raise their concerns in a manner that does not destroy
infrastructure, because the infrastructure is needed to improve their

Released by the African National Congress Youth League
Contact Floyd Shivambu, ANC YL National Spokesperson—0828199474

Protesters must obey law
Jul 23 2009 01:15 PM

Johannesburg - Protesters in South Africa have to respect the
law, a minister warned on Thursday, after violent demonstrations
against shoddy public services erupted in townships across the

"We are not going to allow anybody to use illegal means to
achieve their objective," said Sicelo Shiceka, minister for
local government.

"We are saying this is a government that is legitimate, has
been elected democratically," he said on Talk Radio 702.

"Anything that is to be done, must be done within the law and
the Constitution," he added.

On Wednesday, protesters in townships around Johannesburg and in
other parts of the country stoned vehicles, set fire to buildings
and looted shops.

The violence came amid mounting frustration over dire housing
conditions and a lack of basic services such as water and

When the mayor of Balfour tried to speak to a crowd in the eastern
province of Mpumalanga his convoy was stoned and police used rubber
bullets to break up the protest.

The protests erupted just two months after President Jacob Zuma
took office.

About 51 percent of the population lived in poverty in 1994, when
the first democratic elections were held. The rate was 41% in 2007,
according to government data.

Even those numbers mask the depth of the problem: in 2007, 23% of
the population lived on less than one dollar a day.

South Africa has made strides in improving housing while expanding
access to clean water and electricity, building 2.8 million houses
in 15 years.

But more than a million families still live in shacks without
power, often sharing a single tap among dozens of households.

The problem has been felt even more sharply recently, as South
Africa is at the height of winter, with freezing temperatures in
many parts of the country.


Mobilise communities instead of providing houses of cards
Xolela Mangcu, Business Day, Johannesburg, 23 July 2009

FOR as long as we ascribe the protests taking place around the country
to just service delivery, then for that long the solutions will continue
to elude us. At root, this is a problem of the social contract — or lack
thereof. We are reaping the whirlwinds of a technocratic, consumerist
ideology of development that has been at the heart of government policy
since the late 1980s and early 1990s, compounded by the neoliberal
policies of the past 10 years.

This technocratic, consumerist approach to development was embraced by
both the National Party and the African National Congress (ANC) for
political reasons. The National Party thought it could win the hearts
and minds of black people by providing them with housing, and the ANC
sought to demonstrate that it could govern by building as many houses as
possible. That’s the political part but the specific policy origins go
back to the National Housing Forum in 1992.

The debate within the forum was whether SA should adopt the “width” or
the “depth” approach to housing delivery. The “width” approached focused
on quantity — the number of units to be delivered — while the “depth”
approach focused on building sustainable communities. Agencies such as
the Urban Foundation pushed successfully for the development of the
“width” approach. After all, they had experimented with this approach
when the Independent Development Trust built hundreds of thousands of
one and two–roomed houses that were derisively called “toilets in the veld”.

This model found new life in the form of the so-called RDP houses.
Developers made a killing by cutting corners in the quality of these
houses. Despair set in, followed by the renting- out of these houses and
vandalism. One only has to look at the names of these settlements to
understand the level of community alienation from them. In my township
of Ginsberg, for instance, they are called “kwa-moer, moer” — a place of

I can see why the “width” approach would still be attractive to the new
government. The reason housing is often the development priority in many
countries is precisely because the building of houses gives people a
sense that progress is being made.

I also suspect there may be reluctance on the part of the ANC to adopt a
strategy mostly associated with the black consciousness movement. But
that would be childish and churlish. The movement’s strategy and
philosophy of community based self-reliant development is exactly what
we need in confronting our housing problems — it’s certainly what has
been tried in certain parts of Latin America.

In 1988, I wrote a master’s thesis on housing policy. It was a pretty
dry and rather technical exercise about how to get the building
industry, the financial services industry and the government to work on
a resolution of the problem. The fact is that the housing deficit was as
big 20 years ago as it is likely to be 20 years from now . And that is
because people will continue to move to the urban areas in search of
work opportunities.

The solution is not to promise people that you will close the gap but
that you will work with them as hard as you can to close the gap, and
that you will speak to them as frankly as you can about the challenges.

In other words, use the crisis as a way to engage with people, instead
of running away from them or reading them the riot act.

There are more than enough examples of community-based housing
development from around the world.

Community development corporations played a crucial role in not only
strengthening the capacity of local organisations but also became strong
partners with governments in cities such as Boston and Chicago.

In the final analysis, we need to rescue housing policy from the false
dichotomy of the “width” and “depth” approaches and adopt a community
mobilisation strategy that combines the best of both approaches. The
development of housing should be seen not merely as a provision of
products but a mobilisation of communities towards the creation and
delivery of those products.

The ANC would have to use the very same methods it used in getting
millions of disaffected people to vote for it in the election to
facilitate a process of public deliberation — not only about housing but
about its other policy priorities, too

The idea that you can solve public policy problems from Pretoria has
always been, and will always be an illusion.

Mangcu is affiliated to the University of Johannesburg and is a
nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

23 July 2009

Thokoza residents on Guatengs East Rand gathered in the early morning of July 21 to voice their displeasure at governments failure to provide basic services

South Africa discontent spreads
BBC 22 July 2009

There is anger in some of South Africa's poorest areas

Violence in South Africa's townships has spread as residents protest
about what they say is a lack of basic services, such as water and housing.

Police have fired rubber bullets at demonstrators in Johannesburg, the
Western Cape and the north-eastern region of Mpumalanga.

In Mpumalanga, there were reports of foreign-owned businesses being
looted as foreigners sought police protection.

More than 100 people have been arrested during the past week.

The rising tensions in the townships have revived memories of xenophobic
attacks on foreigners last year in which more than 60 people died.

Jonah Fisher BBC News, Johannesburg

What we are seeing is a combination of a series of different factors.
South Africa is in the grip of its first recession for 20 years. People
in the townships, the poorest people in South Africa, complain that
after 15 years of ANC rule they still don't have basic housing,
electricity or water.

Jacob Zuma put service delivery at the heart of his election campaign
and that's in part why he won a big mandate.

But a lot of people look at the local level ANC and say they need to
start delivering, and they will be looking to Mr Zuma to root out the
corruption and nepotism which have prevented service delivery being
expanded throughout South Africa.

The latest protests over service delivery come less than 100 days after
Jacob Zuma took office as president, following a resounding election
victory for the governing African National Congress (ANC).

They are a reminder of the impatience felt in the most deprived areas of
the country, says BBC world affairs correspondent Peter Biles.

On Tuesday, police cars were stoned in Thokoza near Johannesburg during
a demonstration about living conditions that turned violent.

Nearby township Diepsloot saw cars and houses being burnt last week in
protest at plans to tear down makeshift shacks to make way for a sewage

Poverty pledge
President Jacob Zuma promised to improve service delivery when he came
to power in May, and said fighting poverty was his priority,
highlighting the huge economic and social challenges facing South Africa.

However, South Africa announced in June that it was facing its worst
recession in 17 years.

Fifteen years after the ANC won its first election, more than one
million South Africans still live in shacks, many without access to
electricity or running water.

The gap between rich and poor is also wider than it was 15 years ago,
our correspondent says.

The slow provision of replacement housing has long been controversial -
nearly three million have been built, but the allocation has been prone
to nepotism and corruption.

In addition, the global economic climate has banished any hope of South
Africa maintaining record levels of economic growth, and reducing

In the midst of this latest unrest, Mr Zuma is embarking upon a tour of
the country to thank voters for returning the ANC to power in the
elections last April.

Our correspondent says he will now be under even greater pressure to
explain how the ANC is going to meet its plethora of election promises.

Audits won’t quell the anger
Business Day 22 July 2009

HOW much more bureaucratic can you get? In the face of increasingly
violent and xenophobic service delivery protests that have spread from
Diepsloot to Balfour to Thokoza, what the African National Congress
(ANC) has to offer is an audit.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says the party’s national executive
committee decided at the weekend to conduct an immediate appraisal of
its local councillors, and to audit the record of service delivery in
all of SA’s municipalities.

There’s nothing wrong with this except, firstly, that it raises the
question of why such a thing hasn’t been done in the 15 years the ANC
has been in power and, secondly, that it seems an entirely ineffectual
response to the crisis gripping many of SA’s townships and squatter camps.

It’s hard to forget just how slow and clumsy was the response by those
in power to last year’s xenophobic violence. Surely, this time, we might
expect the ANC’s leaders in Luthuli House and in the government to
respond with more agility? What matters most to people are the services
they get (or don’t get) where they live. And the government’s failure to
ensure competent delivery of the most basic services such as sewage
disposal or shelter is proving to be its Achilles heel. And it’s no good
citing “political ambitions” as the fuel for some of the protests, as
Mantashe did: even if it’s true, there are still genuine grievances that
leaders must listen to, and do something about.

An audit that looks at the needs and shortcomings of each of SA’s
hundreds of municipalities might yield pointers to action in a few
months’ or years’ time. But it’s hardly going to halt the mobs now.

And while we would be the first to encourage the ANC to hold local
councillors to account, that isn’t necessarily much of a solution either
in the short term. Much of the problem is with the officials, from
mayors down, who are actually supposed to do the work.

Appointing people on merit and skill, not patronage or colour, would
help. But the crucial thing the leaders in Luthuli House and the Union
Buildings should be doing now is to get out there to the burning
townships, find out what’s wrong, and do something about it.

Delivery protests growing more political

SERVICE delivery protests have accelerated since April, in what may be
an indication of growing impatience not long after the making of
election campaign promises.

Winter has always been the peak protest season in SA. “Perhaps it’s
because that’s when people are most uncomfortable,” says Karen Reese, an
economist and co-founder of Municipal IQ, which monitors service
delivery across municipalities.

Cape winters are particularly uncomfortable, accompanied by rain and
misery, especially for shack dwellers. However, Anti-Privatisation Forum
spokesman Dale McKinley feels it is wrong to believe that all protests
are over lack of service, or that they come and go.

“Every single protest has been grouped under service delivery and that’s
not true,” he says.

Some protests, he argues, may best be classified as “political protests”
since they represent a demand for representation and accountability
among local leaders.

“It’s not just about the delivery of an RDP house but goes deeper than
that; it’s about who has a voice in this country,” McKinley says.

Problems may also occur when the state, in a desire to provide services
quickly, neglects to consult widely enough, says Richard Pithouse, a
politics lecturer at Rhodes University. P rotests are complex and each
must be treated on its merit.

In the past three months, demonstrations have broken out in settlements
from Du Noon in Cape Town, Zeerust in the North West and Orange Farm in

Yesterday, police fired rubber bullets to disperse about 200 hostel
dwellers in Thokoza on the East Rand. Unhappy with hostel renovations in
particular, they threw stones, damaging several hostels. At least 17
people were arrested.

Reese believes that, unlike previous years, protests have become much
more generalised. “Previously, service delivery protests were around
specific issues, although you still have that and it often acts as the
trigger,” she says.

Protests also seem to have become more violent, including looting and
the stoning of cars . “It is of late an accelerating trend; it’s picking
up momentum,” she says.

Earlier this month, two people died in Mpumalanga when marauding
residents set fire to three councillors’ homes, including the home of
Piet Retief mayor Mary Khumalo.

McKinley says violence is not about people going out “pro-actively” to
destroy something. Instead, it normally reflects authorities’ hostility
towards protesters’ grievances as well as a failure of policing.

“We must bear in mind that the state has also become more violent,” says
Pithouse, arguing that in a democracy it is unacceptable for a
demonstrator to die.

Municipal IQ says just over halfway through the year, 13 % of the major
service delivery protests recorded since 2004 took place last year . It
suggests that should the trend continue, the number of protests this
year will exceed those of 2007 and last year and come close to the 2005
peak when 35 protests were recorded countrywide.

Rooted in SA’s struggle against apartheid, protests are hardly mindless
outpourings of anger, says McKinley. “It’s an understanding of how power
works,” he says. The poor, recognising their limitations in using
democratic processes, rely on their collective strength.

McKinley says what the poor are demanding is quality leadership,
something unlikely to happen until there is a serious political movement
coming from the left. “What’s lacking is an organised voice of the poor
and the working class,” he says.

Recent demonstrations appear to have been encouraged by the change of
guard in the government, which portrayed itself as a champion of the
poor. Pithouse says people take past promises very seriously.

“They see them as a contract between themselves and the state.”

Reese ascribes the protests to relative deprivation inherent when one
municipal ward is better off than the neighbouring areas. Service
protests are also an urban phenomenon, although Municipal IQ says there
is a trend towards non-metro areas.

Last week, Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs Minister
Sicelo Shiceka blamed the South African National Civic Organisation
(Sanco) for the latest protests in Mpumalanga and Diepsloot.

But Reese does not make much of the third force theory, suggesting
instead a widening gap between expectations and capacity.

“If there is a third force, it is acting on valid concerns,” she says.

SA hit by service-delivery protests
Courtney Brooks 22 July 2009

A wave of protests has erupted in townships across South Africa over
shoddy housing and public services, adding to pressure on President
Jacob Zuma to deliver on promises to fight poverty.

Police fired rubber bullets on Tuesday to break up about 200 protesters
in Thokoza township outside Johannesburg, where they stoned police cars
in anger at their dire housing conditions.

That followed a riot one week earlier in Diepsloot, also near
Johannesburg, where two police cars were destroyed, buildings were
burned and passing cars stoned in protest at moves to demolish shacks in
order to build sewerage lines.

More worryingly, a protest in eastern Mpumalanga on Sunday took on
anti-immigrant colours as shops owned by foreigners were looted and burned.

That sparked anxious memories of the xenophobic attacks that swept the
country one year ago, when about 60 people died and tens of thousands of
foreigners fled townships for refugee camps.

Protests over poor public service have soared this year, according to
Municipal IQ, which monitors municipal services. Poor South Africans
have staged 24 major protests so far this year, compared with 27 in all
of last year, the group said in a statement.

"We've got high levels of unemployment, the whole world is suffering
from an economic downturn and that's not making it any easier," said
Adrian Hadland, a director at the Human Sciences Research Council, a
think-tank that advises on public policy.

"Part of the frustration is local government is very uneven, and that is
often the level of government where things are most keenly felt and

The African National Congress (ANC) last weekend called for an audit
into municipal services, with the aim of aiding -- or sometimes
pressuring -- cities to improve their performance.

"The ANC put service delivery of local government at the centre stage,"
said ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi. "Now we realise that our
councillors in the municipalities might be needing intervention."

"We need to directly fix the issues at hand, not the symptoms of the
problem," Mnisi added.

Fight against poverty
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has made strides in
improving housing while expanding access to clean water and electricity,
building 2,8-million houses in 15 years.

But more than one million families still live in shacks without power,
often sharing a single tap among dozens of households. The problem has
heightened as South Africa is at the height of winter, with freezing
temperatures in Johannesburg and other parts of the country.

"In the absence of electricity, a roof over your head, and running
water, it is keenly felt," said Hadland.

Zuma took office two months ago, after campaigning on promises to step
up the fight against poverty in a country where unemployment is
officially at 23,5% but is believed much higher.

But the country has slipped into its first recession since apartheid,
and thousands of jobs have been lost this year, complicating plans to
boost government spending to fight poverty.

"There is quite a serious problem in the sense that there isn't just a
straightforward way of resolving it, because the state structures are
poorly managed," said David Bruce, of the Centre for the Study of
Violence and Reconciliation.

Any meaningful solution will take years to implement, but in the
meantime the government will have to tread carefully to avoid inflaming
public discontent, Municipal IQ said.

"What is called for now is level heads, and the opening of communication
channels," the group said. -- AFP

Government works to solve service delivery protests
Stephen Grootes

Eyewitness News

Government officials say they are working on the root causes of service
delivery protests.

Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka has admitted poor service
delivery and corruption are generating high emotions on the ground but
the head of the Human Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Service
Delivery’s Udesh Pillay said it is a difficult nut to crack.

“There is just a wave of protest action occurring through out the
country in different sectors and this really underscores the fact that
people are holding government to account.”

Show anger in civil way
Sowetan 22 July 2009

Sowetan says:
People across the country are going out on the streets to protest poor
service delivery. There are daily reports about dissatisfaction with
councillors and the national government.

This is the right and proper thing to do.

But the tendency to violence is barbaric. It is not part of the fabric
of a democracy.

People have a right to protest and to strike. What is not lawful is the
destruction of property that belongs to the community and, therefore, to
each resident in that community.

The property does not belong to individual councillors, officials or

Inept councillors, corrupt officials, and greedy business can easily be
removed without resorting to barbaric behaviour. They can also be
exposed for their wrongdoing.

We understand that the people are angry and unhappy. The current
recession has not helped matters by throwing a lot of breadwinners out
of work. Hunger and fear are elements that fuel despondency.

Desperation may be fuelling the violence but the destruction of
property, the stench of xenophobia that accompanies the protests,
looting and burning, is criminal.

It is unacceptable that people who have a legitimate government should
behave in this manner. During apartheid such behaviour was common
because the people did not have the voice nor the right to petition
government for anything.

The political climate has changed. Anyone who has a grievance knows what
to do. The ballot box is available to voice anger and dissent.

Police target ringleaders: Service protest anger boils over
Shaun Smilie, Poloko Tau & Sapa (The Mercury) 22 July 2009

SOUTH Africa has been gripped by a wave of violent service provision
protests in three provinces, with fears that it might escalate and spill
over into other provinces.

The protests in recent weeks depict a government still treading water in
the race to keep democracy afloat, analysts say.

Anger against inadequate municipal services has boiled over after
President Jacob Zuma's administration was elected, under pressure to
deliver on election promises.

Yesterday, protesters fought running battles with police through the
streets of Siyathemba, which borders the town of Balfour in Mpumalanga.

Police fired rubber bullets and teargas, and cleared the barricades.
They also called up reinforcements. Superintendent Meshack Mtsweni said
police had changed tactics.

"We are focusing on the ringleaders. We have specific people who are
identifying who the ringleaders are," he said.

Police had arrested one ringleader.

Nomvula Mhlongo, who is 89, was on the streets of Siyathemba township
taunting the police from behind a barricade of burning tyres.

She was there because she still lived in the same house that flooded in
summer and got too cold in winter. "There is niks hier and I have been
here all my life," she shouted.

Yesterday, 99 protesters appeared in the Balfour Magistrate's Court on a
charge of public violence.

At least eight foreign-owned shops stood looted or gutted. The few
locally-owned shops stood out, as they were boarded up, but untouched.
At the Balfour police station, police were working in shifts and a braai
had been organised to feed them. Also at the station were foreigners
desperate to organise an escort to their shops.

One of them was Abrham Ayano, an Ethiopian. "This place is supposed to
be life in heaven. But I have just risked my life for nothing," he said.

Ayano's shop in Greylingstad had been looted and he didn't have a place
to stay for the night.

Meanwhile, a stalemate, cushioned by promises of action from a
councillor not directly responsible for the ward, led to protesters
marching on the Thokoza police station, where they formed a human wall
across the main entrance. Once again, the police readied for battle, but
the tense stand-off ended without further violence.

The Ekurhuleni Municipality was quick to respond, asking the community
to respect the law and promising to deal with the issues.

The worst-hit provinces were the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga,
where the number of households with access to water was 73 percent, 83
percent and 89 percent respectively. In the Eastern Cape, 66 percent of
households used electricity for lighting, with 81 percent in Limpopo and
82 percent in Mpumalanga.

Nationally, housing provision by the government had dropped by 8.2
percent between April 2007 and March 2008, compared to the same period
the previous year.

Calls for calm and restraint from residents, police
Sipho Khumalo 22 July 2009

KWAZULU-NATAL's MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs,
Willies Mchunu, yesterday expressed grave concern about the violence
accompanying service protests.

He called for calm from the protesters and the police.

Delivering his department's R1.2 billion budget yesterday, Mchunu
described the protests as both a sign of the maturity of democracy and a
call to the authorities to listen to the people.

His call for restraint came in the wake of a nationwide upsurge in
public shows of anger over the serious lack of municipal services.

Early this year police used rubber bullets to disperse residents of
Ntuzuma, north of Durban, protesting against a lack of housing and
sanitation. Last week eThekwini residents marched through Durban over
public transport cessation.

Mchunu said such protests often degenerated into public violence, damage
to property and police firing shots at crowds.

"We are extremely concerned with the violence. We appeal to our people
not to burn tyres and damage property," said Mchunu, adding that some of
these properties were meant to benefit the aggrieved people.

"I am inclined to call for calm. I appeal to the law enforcement
agencies to hold fire on unarmed and often poor protesters.

"Pictures of elderly women and men with injuries sustained as a result
of the use of rubber bullets and sometimes live ammunition only serve to
cast a negative perception on our democracy," Mchunu said.

He also urged councillors and mayors to tighten belts and spend less on

"We should reduce our sleeping in hotels. We want more money to be spent
on developing the community facilities than on avoidable expenses.

Mchunu said he would undertake a comprehensive analysis of the true
state of municipalities in the province with a view to producing a
blueprint for an ideal municipality.

The province would also launch a clean audit operation to eliminate
fraud and graft.

Meyerton traffic slowed by protest

Sapa 22 July 2009

Residents were protesting against being moved from their temporary
settlement at a school in Kliprivier, south of Johannesburg, Vereeniging
police said on Wednesday.

"The strike started on Tuesday night and it was peaceful. The residents
burnt tyres to keep them warm in the cold weather," said Inspector Happy

However, on Wednesday morning the situation worsened.

Traffic flow on the R59 between Kliprivier and Meyerton was interrupted.

"I have to call for backup because the situation is becoming bad," Nape

Nape said residents were protesting about being moved from Michael Rua
Primary School where they had been temporarily housed.

He did not know where the residents were housed before being moved to
the school.

"It seems that there was a misunderstanding between the Sedibeng and Mid
Vaal municipalities on where the residents should be relocated to."

Thirty families had been housed at the school before they were told to
move to another location as schools opened this week. - Sapa

Balfour protest turns ugly
Nkosana Lekotjolo (The Times) 22 July 2009

Police and residents in the Siyathemba Township in Balfour are involved
in a tense standoff after police were forced to fire rubber bullets and
tear gas at an angry mob.

Protestors who had just been addressed by Balfour Mayor started throwing
stones and bottles at police forcing them to retaliate.

Journalists have been trapped by blockades after the roads were closed
with burning tyres and rocks.

The township is covered in smoke as the people continue to throw stones
and bottles as they constantly regroup despite police attempts to
disperse the crowd.

More to come.

Councillors try to quell Balfour protestors
The Times

Ward councillors are in a meeting with the Balfour mayor in the
municipal offices in the Mpumalanga town to discuss ways to accommodate
grievances put forward by the community.

"They are meeting to discuss resolutions to the protests and memorandum
put forward by the community," superintendent Meshack Mtswena said.

Hundreds of protestors are marching through the streets of Siyathemba
waiting for the ANC ward councillor to talk to them.

Velaphi Radebe from Siyathemba, who is unemployed, told The Times that
there are no jobs.

"People from the Free State are taking our work. And the foreigners are
taking business here. We are burning their shops because we know it will
get the municipality's attention.

"We are African! They must force foreigners out. People are angry
because the mayor isn't listening to us."

Protest leaders, who have gathered in Siyathemba are demanding the
release of those arrested for public violence and for the mayor to talk
to them.

If their demands are not met they will continue with their protests.

Those arrested will appear in court on Friday.

Sally Evans

Xenophobic attacks return
Sally Evans and Nkululeko Ncana 22 July 2009

AWFUL SENSE OF DEJA VU: Residents run riot in Balfour, Mpumalanga,
yesterday, forcing police to evacuate foreigners Picture: THYS DULLAART

‘There is no excuse for the targeting of foreign nationals’— President
Jacob Zuma

Police evacuate foreigners and arrest 99 as xenophobic violence returns

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has condemned attacks on foreigners in Mpumalanga.

The attacks, which have so far displaced about 100 foreigners living in
Balfour, are chillingly similar to the early stages of last year’s
xenophobic violence in which 67 people died around the country.

As with last year’s violence, the attacks in Mpumalanga happened under
the guise of protests against service delivery. Residents began
protesting on Sunday, demanding that local officials address complaints
about access to water and electricity, and job opportunities.

But locals soon turned their attention to the foreign business-owners in
the Siyathemba township in Balfour.

They looted the businesses of Ethiopian, Pakistani and Chinese shop
owners. Several foreigners were assaulted.

Yesterday, about 100 displaced foreigners sought refuge at the Balfour
police station. Police were last night still trying to find temporary
shelter for them.

Police have arrested 99 residents for public violence.

Zuma’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said last night: “We are yet to
corroborate the reports of violence in the service-delivery protest in
Mpumalanga. However, the president’s view is that there is no excuse for
violence or destruction of property of any sort, including the targeting
of foreign nationals.

“President Zuma has on numerous occasions spoken against xenophobia in
our country and he will continue to condemn it. The right to protest is
not, at all, a licence for violent behaviour.”

Jody Kollapen, chair of the SA Human Rights Commission, said “following
last year’s xenophobic violence, an uneasy calm settled and not enough
was done to understand the cause of the attacks”.

“I am of the strong view that the violence is a result of socioeconomic
ills and a perception among South Africans that they are being
marginalised. They see the foreign nationals as unfair competition.”

Kollapen said there had not been a thorough investigation of last year’s
violence or prosecution of perpetrators. “This was not enough to send a
strong message that it should not happen again,” he said.

The Times reported in February that only 128 of the 1400 suspects
arrested for xenophobic attacks were convicted and sentenced.

Kollapen said not enough was done to understand the root causes of the

“Was it xenophobia, was it socioeconomic problems? If these were
identified then proper programmes should have been put in place, across
the board, from government to civil society,” Kollapen said.

In recent months there had been violence that included attacks on
foreigners, he said.

“This is a competition for resources.”

Pakistani grocery store owner Mohamed Waqas, who has lived in Balfour
for five years, said: “There was no warning. On Sunday night someone on
a loudspeaker [called] for protest action. They then barricaded the road
with rocks and the police told us to leave. I feel so bad because we
have worked so hard, but now everything is gone … it’s finished.”

Balfour was still tense last night as mobs continued to destroy street
signs, buildings and cars. All roads leading to Siyathemba were strewn
with rocks, broken glass, mattresses and sign posts.

In nearby Greylingstad, police escorted foreign shop owners to safety as
a precaution. In Siyathemba, sporadic violence and looting continued
throughout yesterday. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to
disperse groups.

Two municipal buildings were torched, along with a truck and tractor
belonging to the local council.

Shortly before looting a store owned by a Chinese resident, a protester
told The Times: “The mayor did not give us the right answer to our
memorandum [handed over in July demanding access to water and
electricity and job opportunities].

“We still have work to do,” he said, pointing to the shops.

Nassir Hairtemam, an Ethiopian who has been in South Africa for seven
years, was rescued by police on Sunday when looters ransacked his shop.

“ They came into our shops with stones and pangas. They would’ve killed
us,” he said.

Not as fortunate was Melekamu Kachen. The 25-year-old Ethiopian beaten
up by a mob and his store destroyed.

Superintendent Meshack Mtsweni, police operational commander in Balfour,
said he feared for the lives of foreigners still in Siyathemba. “We
cannot leave them in there because they will lose everything.”

Police patrolled Siyathemba last night.

Duncan Breen, spokesman for the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in
South Africa, said there were “escalating problems” in parts of
Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Breen said: “This has been a long established pattern where foreigners
are targeted [during service-delivery protests].”

He said locals used this as an excuse to “go out and loot”.

Paul Mbenyane, ANC spokesman in Mpumalanga, said: “It is criminal what
is happening. The service-delivery protests might be legitimate, but we
suspect that they are being taken over by criminals. What is troubling
the ANC in this province is why would people complain about water but
then decide to burn down a clinic or a library? Acts of violence against
business people and their properties should be seen as acts of
criminality and nothing else, and we urge police to bring those
implicated to book.”

The Times understands that Minister of Co-operative Governance and
Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka will visit Mpumalanga tomorrow. His
team is expected to audit all the municipalities in the province.

Mohlalefi Lebotha, spokesman for the Dipaleseng municipality, which
includes Balfour and Greylingstad, said a meeting with the protesters
was scheduled for today .

He denied service delivery was slow in the municipal area.

“We are implementing several projects for infrastructure development.
It’s not like nothing is happening.

“We are concerned because we believe criminal elements are using the
protests for their own agenda,” he said.

Additional reporting Sashni Pather, Dominic Mahlangu and Werner Swart

Xenophobic attacks return
Sally Evans and Nkululeko Ncana 22 July 2009

AWFUL SENSE OF DEJA VU: Residents run riot in Balfour, Mpumalanga,
yesterday, forcing police to evacuate foreigners Picture: THYS DULLAART

‘There is no excuse for the targeting of foreign nationals’— President
Jacob Zuma

Police evacuate foreigners and arrest 99 as xenophobic violence returns

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has condemned attacks on foreigners in Mpumalanga.

The attacks, which have so far displaced about 100 foreigners living in
Balfour, are chillingly similar to the early stages of last year’s
xenophobic violence in which 67 people died around the country.

As with last year’s violence, the attacks in Mpumalanga happened under
the guise of protests against service delivery. Residents began
protesting on Sunday, demanding that local officials address complaints
about access to water and electricity, and job opportunities.

But locals soon turned their attention to the foreign business-owners in
the Siyathemba township in Balfour.

They looted the businesses of Ethiopian, Pakistani and Chinese shop
owners. Several foreigners were assaulted.

Yesterday, about 100 displaced foreigners sought refuge at the Balfour
police station. Police were last night still trying to find temporary
shelter for them.

Police have arrested 99 residents for public violence.

Zuma’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said last night: “We are yet to
corroborate the reports of violence in the service-delivery protest in
Mpumalanga. However, the president’s view is that there is no excuse for
violence or destruction of property of any sort, including the targeting
of foreign nationals.

“President Zuma has on numerous occasions spoken against xenophobia in
our country and he will continue to condemn it. The right to protest is
not, at all, a licence for violent behaviour.”

Jody Kollapen, chair of the SA Human Rights Commission, said “following
last year’s xenophobic violence, an uneasy calm settled and not enough
was done to understand the cause of the attacks”.

“I am of the strong view that the violence is a result of socioeconomic
ills and a perception among South Africans that they are being
marginalised. They see the foreign nationals as unfair competition.”

Kollapen said there had not been a thorough investigation of last year’s
violence or prosecution of perpetrators. “This was not enough to send a
strong message that it should not happen again,” he said.

The Times reported in February that only 128 of the 1400 suspects
arrested for xenophobic attacks were convicted and sentenced.

Kollapen said not enough was done to understand the root causes of the

“Was it xenophobia, was it socioeconomic problems? If these were
identified then proper programmes should have been put in place, across
the board, from government to civil society,” Kollapen said.

In recent months there had been violence that included attacks on
foreigners, he said.

“This is a competition for resources.”

Pakistani grocery store owner Mohamed Waqas, who has lived in Balfour
for five years, said: “There was no warning. On Sunday night someone on
a loudspeaker [called] for protest action. They then barricaded the road
with rocks and the police told us to leave. I feel so bad because we
have worked so hard, but now everything is gone … it’s finished.”

Balfour was still tense last night as mobs continued to destroy street
signs, buildings and cars. All roads leading to Siyathemba were strewn
with rocks, broken glass, mattresses and sign posts.

In nearby Greylingstad, police escorted foreign shop owners to safety as
a precaution. In Siyathemba, sporadic violence and looting continued
throughout yesterday. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to
disperse groups.

Two municipal buildings were torched, along with a truck and tractor
belonging to the local council.

Shortly before looting a store owned by a Chinese resident, a protester
told The Times: “The mayor did not give us the right answer to our
memorandum [handed over in July demanding access to water and
electricity and job opportunities].

“We still have work to do,” he said, pointing to the shops.

Nassir Hairtemam, an Ethiopian who has been in South Africa for seven
years, was rescued by police on Sunday when looters ransacked his shop.

“ They came into our shops with stones and pangas. They would’ve killed
us,” he said.

Not as fortunate was Melekamu Kachen. The 25-year-old Ethiopian beaten
up by a mob and his store destroyed.

Superintendent Meshack Mtsweni, police operational commander in Balfour,
said he feared for the lives of foreigners still in Siyathemba. “We
cannot leave them in there because they will lose everything.”

Police patrolled Siyathemba last night.

Duncan Breen, spokesman for the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in
South Africa, said there were “escalating problems” in parts of
Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Breen said: “This has been a long established pattern where foreigners
are targeted [during service-delivery protests].”

He said locals used this as an excuse to “go out and loot”.

Paul Mbenyane, ANC spokesman in Mpumalanga, said: “It is criminal what
is happening. The service-delivery protests might be legitimate, but we
suspect that they are being taken over by criminals. What is troubling
the ANC in this province is why would people complain about water but
then decide to burn down a clinic or a library? Acts of violence against
business people and their properties should be seen as acts of
criminality and nothing else, and we urge police to bring those
implicated to book.”

The Times understands that Minister of Co-operative Governance and
Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka will visit Mpumalanga tomorrow. His
team is expected to audit all the municipalities in the province.

Mohlalefi Lebotha, spokesman for the Dipaleseng municipality, which
includes Balfour and Greylingstad, said a meeting with the protesters
was scheduled for today .

He denied service delivery was slow in the municipal area.

“We are implementing several projects for infrastructure development.
It’s not like nothing is happening.

“We are concerned because we believe criminal elements are using the
protests for their own agenda,” he said.

— Additional reporting Sashni Pather, Dominic Mahlangu and Werner Swart

Two held for public violence
Sapa 22 July 2009

Two men were arrested for public violence in Alberton on Wednesday
following a violent protest earlier in the day, Ekurhuleni metro police

Inspector Kobeli Mokheseng said the two were among the 31 people who
picketed outside a company called Prominent Paint in the area south of

"Independent witnesses alleged that offenders were inside the premises
where they started throwing stones and foreign objects damaging a few
parked motor vehicles and windows."

Mokheseng said officers who responded to the incident were pelted with
stones and had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

He said the two were arrested on the scene and charged with public
violence and malicious damage to property.

Mokheseng said police did not know why the workers were protesting.

The two were expected to appear in the Alberton Magistrate's Court soon.

Stun guns at School protest Duncan Village
Daily Dispatch 22 July 2007

POLICE fired stun grenades yesterday during a protest by East London
pupils against the dilapidated state of Lumko High School in Duncan Village.

Their plan was to march to the Department of Education’s office to list
their grievances – which include having sewage run through their
classrooms and having to sit 60 to a room – to the MEC of Education.

According to them, the department has been promising them a new school
for the past 15 years .

But police were called to disperse them when they disrupted lessons
after demanding entry into neighbouring Ebenezer Majombozi High School.

They marched there in the hope that Ebenezer pupils would march with
them to the MEC’s office to show their support. They had already
mobilised pupils from Qaqamba High School.

When the Ebenezer Majombozi High School principal refused to allow them
entry, they tore the school’s gate open.

Police dispersed them using stun grenades and threatened the pupils with
rubber bullets.

Police spokesperson Captain Stephen Marais said two stun grenades were
fired by police to disperse the toyi- toying pupils .

“They were blocking the road and the police tried to calm them down.
Only two stun grenades were fired to stop them from walking in the
middle of the road disturbing the flow of traffic.”

The students carried placards that read: “We want school, we have
rights, no more empty promises.”

Vuyani Mkonqo, leader of the school governing body, said a number of
people claiming to represent the department had visited the school in
May, and had noted the conditions. They wrote a list of all of the
students’ and teachers’ grievances.

Top of the list from both was the appalling conditions of the bathrooms,
which they claimed were beyond repair .

According to them, the toilets no longer flush and had become so clogged
that sewage spilt into the classrooms.

Pupils complained that at times they have to jump over human excrement
to get into classrooms, and then endure the smell during lessons.

Mkonqo also said teachers complained about classrooms being too small to
accommodate the 900 pupils who attend the school.

According to them, at times they have to teach 60 or more pupils at a
time in a room that should hold no more than 30.

They also said there were not enough chairs and desks so that some
pupils were forced to sit on the floor.

Pupils complained that when it rained water came through the roof .

Angry student Chumani Quluba said: “There are no lights in the
classrooms. Doors don’t close properly. Rainwater gets in on rainy days.
We get so cold in winter from the broken windows.”

Other students said there were no science laboratories or sports field.

Leader of the student representative council Nonstikelelo Joyi said that
members of the Education Department met with her and teachers in early
May. Proposals for a new school were discussed, and they were shown the
building plans.

They also introduced three men who were apparently organising temporary
prefabs while the school was being built. The department also allegedly
promised buses to transport pupils to the new premises.

On Monday, the first day of term, the pupils waited for the buses, which
did not arrive, and then walked to the new premises which did not exist.

Angry parents were also present. One of them, Linda Mamase, also a
member of the school governing body, said they were told of the new
school and the prefab classrooms but asked to meet the MEC to confirm
everything, as the last time land was earmarked it was said to have been
sold for Public Works. Another parent said he was tired of the “huge
rats that constantly ate” his children’s lunch.

Despite numerous attempts, the Education Department could not be reached
for comment. - By ZISANDA NKONKOBE


Siyathemba, Protesters blocked roads & set rubbish on fire

Thokoza residents on Guatengs East Rand gathered in the early morning of July 21 to voice their displeasure at governments failure to provide basic services

Residents barricaded the R59 road with burning tires a rocks, over the eviction of 29 families from a farm

Siyathemba, Residents have been protesting about their lack of acess to water, electricity, housing & job opportunities since Sunday, July 20. About 60 people are now in police custody for public violence

Balfour 22 July 2009

Khayelitsha 22 July 2009

Meyerton 22 July 2009

Siyathemba 22 July 2009

Thokoza 22 July 2009

Balfour 22 July 2009

Meyerton 22 July 2009

Selected excerts from Patrick's CCS Update.
To get the CCS update via email please subscribe to the CCS ListServ

Kruger headache returns
Yolandi Groenwald 21 July 209

The government is at sixes and sevens over whether land in the Kruger
Park should be returned to land claimants, a parliamentary briefing
highlighted recently.

This follows the angry response of many communities that have lodged
claims in response to Cabinet's decision in December last year to offer
them money or alternative land.

The announcement created the impression that the final chapter had been
written in the protracted saga of land claims in South Africa's premier
nature reserve.

The Mail & Guardian understands senior Cabinet ministers, including
Environment Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, supported the decision, which was
driven by her predecessor, Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

But a hearing two weeks ago highlighted the continued unhappiness of the
land claims commission over the Cabinet decision.

The Minister of Rural Development and land reform, Gugile Nkwinti, told
Die Burger that a new proposal could be made to the new Cabinet to have
the decision reversed. Nkwinti said the government should be more
sensitive to the needs of claimants.

"We don't want another Khutsong," he said. "The previous Cabinet took a
decision and we will abide by it until a different decision is made, but
it is an issue that has to be resolved."

The dispute reportedly involves about 400 000ha, with 38 communities
lodging 19 claims. The land claims commission told Parliament that it
would need R20-billion to compensate the claimants and that it did not
have the money.

David Mabunda, chief executive of South African National Parks
(SANParks), did not want to comment on the parliamentary debate this
week, but said the park still aligned itself with the December Cabinet
decision. He said half the communities claiming land in the park were
happy with the Cabinet's decision.

"We have begun to explore opportunities on how we as SANParks can give
tangible benefits to make a difference in the lives of the claimants,"
Mabunda said.

At the parliamentary hearing, land committee chairperson Stone Sizane
grilled land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela on land claims in the
park, asking him if he favoured returning land under claim.

Mphela said the Kruger Park claim was one of the commission's biggest
headaches: "We have always believed that the land should be restored and
we have obtained a legal opinion to that affect," he said. "The opinion
said it should not be possible for anyone to place a restriction on what
is a constitutional prerogative."

He said the former department of environmental affairs had made a
submission to Cabinet and that the commission had not had much of an
opportunity to make its argument.

The commission was advising unhappy claimants to fight the decision in

Land claims commissioner Pulane Molefe told the M&G the commission was
not reviewing the Kruger claims, but said there was a "scoping exercise
… to determine the financial implications, as well as the political and
social impact if the claim is to be settled by alternative redress".
Molefe said that, once completed, the exercise would assist the
commission towards "facilitating" claims or "advising Cabinet".

Mabunda said SANParks had well-researched valuations of land in and
around the Kruger Park, which indicated that the land was worth
considerably less than the land claims commission's estimate of R20-billion.

"We would be happy to share our land evaluation expertise with the
commission," he said. "The financial compensation would be millions, but
certainly not billions."

He urged the commission to use agricultural land prices in doing the

Apart from the Makuleke community, the only community to receive 25
000ha in the park, SANParks has also started to assist the Mjajane
community who, apart from their Kruger land claim, also own 4 000ha
adjacent to the park.

SANParks has given the claimants animals for this land and has proposed
a facility for tourists visiting the community's land to cross into the
park for game viewing. This would mean removing the fence between the
community and the park.

Claimant communities will benefit from a tourism levy that will deliver
at least R6,5-million to communities, and the park's 10 fuel stations
would be contracted out to communities, Mabunda said.

"It is easier for SANParks to assist claimants who already own land," he
said. "We are looking to do the same with the other claimant communities
that accept the Cabinet decision."

Spike in service delivery protests, may lead to xenophobic violence
Lwandi 21 Jul 2009

The spike in service delivery protests carries with it the threat of
xenophobic violence. This is the opinion of Lawyers for Human Rights
Advocate Sabelo Sibanda. A report in the Star newspaper today details
how a service delivery protest in Balfour, Mpumalanga yesterday turned
xenophobic when protestors set fire and looting of shops owned by
foreigners in the area. Sibanda says service delivery will always be
connected to xenophobia.

Youths go on rampage over poor service delivery
Nontobeko Mtshali 20 July 2009 Edition 2

SERVICE delivery protests in Balfour, Mpumalanga, reached boiling point
late yesterday afternoon when residents burnt a municipal building and
state vehicles.

Balfour police spokeswoman Superintendent Delisiwe Majola said at some
point the crowd of about 300 was out of control, and blocking every road
in Siyathemba township.

"They blocked roads in the whole area and threatened that no one was
going to leave for work or go to school on Monday," Majola said.

During the rampage, which started at 5pm, Majola said the marchers,
mostly young people, burnt a municipal building used by ward committees
and torched two state cars. She said the crowd was about to petrol bomb
the library when the police intervened.

Last night Majola said the area was "tense", but had settled down,
adding that the police would monitor the situation overnight.

Service delivery protests spread to Thokoza
Star Staff Reporters 21 July 2009 Edition 4

The violent wave of service delivery protests reached Thokoza, east of
Joburg, this morning, with dawn clashes between angry hostel and
squatter-camp dwellers and riot police.

By the time peace returned to the infamous Khumalo Street, 17 people had
been arrested for public violence and an urgent community meeting had
been scheduled for 11am.

Yesterday in Siyathemba township, near Balfour in Mpumalanga, many shops
were looted or burnt as a service delivery riot turned xenophobic.

Residents complained that service delivery was "nonexistent" in their
township, citing poor health and the lack of youth development
facilities and road infrastructure, as well as unemployment.

Thokoza residents rose at about 4.30am to protest against lack of water,
electricity or sanitation facilities.

They stoned police cars and barricaded roads with boulders and burning

Police opened fire, using rubber bullets to push back the rioters.

By about 9am, the area was calm, but the damage done by the earlier
battle was visible all around.

Khumalo Street, a major artery through Thokoza, was closed off until
about 9.30am as heavily armoured Nyalas patrolled the area.

In one Nyala, a police officer shouted through a loudhailer, summoning
the community to the meeting this morning.

Just before the violence ended, a group of journalists came under attack
from residents who stoned them and tried to mob them.

A lone ambulance darted up and down the street, picking up people
injured in the clashes.

In Siyathemba, residents also would like to engage the authorities over
the possibility of being incorporated into Gauteng.

Just a few kilometres from the Balfour police station, police were
fighting mobs with rubber bullets. The rioting had spread to the towns
of Greylingstad and Grootvlei.

Routes into Siyathemba were barricaded and manned by residents.

Inside and outside the Balfour police station, Ethiopians, Pakistanis,
Malawians and Indians gathered last night in the desperate hope that the
police could do something.

"They are burning my shop even now. They are out of control and there
are not enough police," said Ethiopian Michael Abate.

The shops of four Ethiopians he was sitting with in the charge office
had also been burnt down.

Abate, like many other foreigners, had closed his shop on Sunday evening
after the community told him to do so.

Yesterday he had moved half his stock to his house in Balfour, but then
the rioters arrived and he had to flee to the town.

Pakistani shopkeeper Javed Akhtar had two men guarding his store, but by
8pm he decided that for their safety they should leave Siyathemba.

A Malawian man, Adam Ilmulan, feared for the safety of his wife and
4-month-old baby in the township last night.

He was at the police station, but was planning to head to Middelburg today.

By last night, when the rioting stopped, 98 people had been arrested.
The township was quiet but tense this morning.

Samora Machel Protest: 'It's a shame elderly people are still
living in such appalling conditions'

Vuyo Mabandla (Cape Argus) 19 July 2009

Hundreds of Samora Machel residents took to the streets chanting songs
directed at the government for its lack of service delivery - and
carrying a cake to mark Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday.

This was the latest in a number protests held over the past two weeks
that have highlighted the plight of the poor who are demanding that the
government deliver on its promises to build houses.

Last week's flooding sparked a series of demonstrations in Khayelitsha,
Masiphumele and Du Noon by residents, mostly shack dwellers, and things
turned ugly when they clashed with police.

Residents burned tyres, strewed rubbish across streets and threw stones
at police, who reacted by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades at the

A number of people were reportedly left injured.

A Golden Arrow bus was set alight by residents in Site B, Khayelitsha.

Yesterday, Samora Machel community leader, Siyabulela Mafo, said they
had been promised houses by former MEC for housing Richard Dyantyi
before this year's elections.

"(Dyantyi) came and promised to build proper houses for us - and we
believed him.

Residents say they are tired of "these government people promising us
services only when they need our votes."

Nontyatyambo Lumina, 26, said: "I live in a very small shack with my
child, and my house was flooded when it rained. I'm unemployed so I
cannot afford a brick house."

Another resident, Nontembiso Awuwa, said she was "sick of the way the
government uses us to garner support and does nothing in return".

She shouted to her fellow residents: "We want houses. Anditsho? (Isn't
that so?)."

Yesterday, residents used blankets given to flood victims by the
municipal officials to roof a makeshift shelter, calling it "a house
from our government".

Addressing the crowd, Mafo said: "It's such a shame that elderly people
here are still living in appalling conditions."

The residents then tore down the shelter, vowing to do the same with
services, should they not be satisfied.

Mafo said representatives from Samora's informal settlements and shack
dwellers would draw up a memorandum of demands, which will be sent to
the City of Cape Town.

Only a miracle' can prevent retail strike

"Only a miracle" can prevent the industrial action planned against two
subsidiaries of Massmart Holdings, Makro and Massdiscounters (Game and
Dion stores), after failure of management to make any acceptable offer
in the current dispute, the South African Commercial, Catering and
Allied Workers' Union (SACCAWU) said on Monday, 20 July 2009.

SACCAWU said industrial action would kick off on 24 July with mass
protest marches in various parts of the country.

"While SACCAWU endeavoured to seek an amicable solution to the dispute,
Massmart management on the other hand have displayed nothing but
intransigence and harassment of our members in all its subsidiaries,
including those not affected by the dispute," the union said.

"This intimidation by management and ongoing hostility towards the
SACCAWU members have not at all our derailed our preparations for this
industrial action, in fact it had redoubled the determination of workers
to ensure that all trading will come to a standstill at all Makro, Game
and Dion outlets.

We are satisfied with levels of mobilisation and readiness for such
action amongst members," it added.

SACCAWU's dispute with Makro concerns failure to reach agreement over
wages and other conditions of employment, and it is in dispute over
three issues at Massdiscounters, including unilateral changes to terms
and conditions of employment due to the imposition of the biometrics
technology in the company and consequent unlawful lock-out scores of
SACCAWU members; the failure by parties to reach agreement on amendments
to the Relationship Agreement; and wages and conditions of employment.

"We are concerned about the about subtle and systematic pattern of union
bashing by Massmart subsidiaries including at Builders Warehouse, Browns
Weirs Cash 'n Carry and Jumbo Cash 'n Carry. Such union bashing
mentality finds expression in unilateralism, the blatant refusal to
enter into Agency Shop Agreements as well as victimisation of shop stewards.

"This attitude by management while far from taking us towards resolving
the dispute only worsens matters and is not in the interests of either
party," SACCAWU said.

The union said it had solicited Cosatu's support, along with support
from other progressive formations.

Other forms of industrial action will include mass rolling action
ranging from pickets and mobilisation for boycotts to be followed by a
full-blown strike if the company refuses to concede to the demands of
the workers, SACCAWU concluded.

A Massmart spokesperson was not available for comment.

Solar water heaters could replace a power station
Business Report 21 July 2009

Eskom has previously calculated that its (thus far) unsuccessful
programme to roll out 925 000 solar water heaters in higher-income
households would reduce peak demand on the grid by 578 megawatts.

If it had hypothetically aimed to implement a programme nine times this
size and extended it to low-income households, then, assuming a roughly
comparable savings rate, Eskom would save power equivalent to more than
5 000MW.

This is more than the output of the third power station that Eskom aims
to build. Eskom is in the process of constructing two base-load
coal-fired power stations, each producing 4 000MW-plus - Medupi in the
Waterberg in Limpopo and Kusile in Mpumalanga - at a projected cost of
R100 billion and R111bn respectively.

Yesterday, a senior executive at the utility told Reuters that Eskom
planned to take the proposal for a third coal-fired power station to its
board in December.

Eskom said earlier this year that solar water heaters bearing the full
SA Bureau of Standards mark of approval should be available in the near
future for as little as R7 000 apiece (compared with existing prices
ranging from R17 000 to R35 000).

At the lower price, solar water heaters for 10 million South African
households would cost in the region of R70bn. Compared with the cost of
building Medupi, that's a saving of R30bn.

All of which goes to show that the savings generated by a mass rollout
of solar water heaters would help to rein in power price rises over the
next few years. It makes a strong case for the urgent establishment of
local manufacturing capacity and a well-co-ordinated plan to take these
to every corner of the country.

Selected excerts from Patrick's CCS Update.
To get the CCS update via email please subscribe to the CCS ListServ


Vanessa Burger 21 July 2009

The demise of Durban's bus service has reached crisis proportions and is
effecting the vast majority of residents, particularly the poorer
communities, pensioners and scholars. It is also unacceptable that the
bus drivers lose their jobs because of questionable tender and subsidy
processes and the municipality’s continued use of a dubious supplier
that has consistently fallen short of its service requirements.

It is the ratepayers’ right to demand a full, independent financial
enquiry into the process that has led to this situation, and for it to
be made public and the municipality to be held accountable to government
and the people of Durban. It is also our duty to support the
reinstatement of the drivers who are now unemployed because of our
municipality’s opaque dealings. It is unforgiveable that the
municipality, particularly during these financially crippling times,
sees fit to terminate the drivers’ employment, citing lack of government
subsidies and funds when it is clear the city can always find finance
for issues IT unilaterally sees as important (such as non-vital new
street signs, a 2010 stadium which has cost us nearly double the cost of
any other stadium in SA, a 300 million highly questionable development
of the beachfront, R75 000 each for the high-tech people mover bus
stops, etc etc etc).


If you agree with this and wish to take action against this gross
mismanagement and lack of transparency please add your name, address and brief comment below and email back to me

I will forward to the ward councilor for it to be presented to the
council and KZN Transport MEC, Bheki Cele.

Pse feel free to circulate to anyone you feel might like to join us.
Attached is also a print version if you would like to circulate hard
copies for other residents who don’t have email to sign and I will
collect from you.
Vanessa Burger

We, the ratepayers of Durban listed below, demand the following:

1. A full, independent financial enquiry into the process that has
led to the cessation of our municipal bus service and the appointment of
2. For all findings to be made public and the municipality to be
held accountable to government and the people of Durban.
3. For ALL previously employed (by either Remant Alton or the
Ethekwini Municipality) bus drivers to be be re-employed by the new
municipal service provider at no reduction to their previous salaries or

Failing this we will boycott any new bus service that is appointed by
the Ethekwini Municipality and support any future non-violent protest
action taken by those disadvantaged by the municipality’s mismanagement
and encourage other communities to join this boycott until the situation
is resolved to the satisfaction of all affected parties.




Legal challenges plague city's market plans

Tania Broughton & Sipho Khumalo (The Mercury) 20 July 2009

The planned shutdown of Durban's Early Morning Market at the end of this
month is looking unlikely, with two further legal challenges being
launched late last week.

As things stand, there are now four applications pending before the
Durban High Court and a further one in the pipeline, all brought by
traders at the market in an attempt to thwart the city's plans to
demolish the building to make way for a R350 million shopping mall and
taxi rank at the Warwick Junction site.

Two of the applications centre on the rights of the "legal" and
"illegal" traders inside the market to continue trading.

Another, brought by Durban's Legal Resources Centre (LRC), was to stop
the harassment of the barrow operators and the city's intended
introduction of a permit system for them.

On Friday, the Market Traders' Association launched another application,
this one aimed at reversing the council's decision to shut down the market.

The association's chairman, Harry Ramlal, said yesterday that the
traders were determined to keep the market open.

The application papers had been served on the council on Friday and the
matter would come before the court on Wednesday.

He said the application raised concerns about the management of the
market and asked for an audit to be done.

Regarding a provincial task team set up to mediate between the
municipality and the traders, Ramlal said the city appeared to have no
respect for the team because officials repeatedly said that the market
would close on July 31.

"I am hoping and praying for some resolution outside of the courts. But
we cannot wait for that," he said.

LRC director Mahendra Chetty confirmed last week that his clients, the
barrow operators, street traders and bovine head sellers, had made
submissions to the task team.

Depending on the outcome of these, his clients would also go to court
seeking to stop the market from being shut down.

Bheko Madlala, spokesman for MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, the chairman of the
task team, said the submissions deadline had been Friday. "We are still
optimistic that we can find a win-win solution," he said.

Erasing a century of history is too easy

Lubna Nadvi (The Mercury) 20 July 2009

THE ANC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012. Clearly this
will be an event of great fanfare, gala celebrations and much
backslapping on having attained the distinction of 100 years of history,
and surviving, regardless of all the challenges posed by apartheid, the
constant threat of breakaway factions, infighting, suspense, intrigue,
plots, political coups and the like, which have tended to characterise
the recent life of the party.

But one wonders how the ANC will be celebrating its achievements in the
knowledge that in a democratic dispensation under its watch, people who
were tasked with taking forward the vision of its founders and leaders -
such as John Dube, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki and Nelson
Mandela - had actually violated, in the most unimaginable way possible,
the multiracial and politically inclusive legacy that these founding
fathers had sought to leave those who took over the reins of leadership.

The impending threat of the destruction of the Early Morning Market in
the Warwick Junction, another landmark with a 100-year history, at the
hands of the ANC, is the most recent example of the violation of this

At a public meeting held in Durban last week to discuss the Warwick
Junction plans, the destruction of the historic site, where the market
is now located, was being sold to the attendees (it was a meeting packed
with pro-council and ANC supporters in what amounted to a hired crowd)
by the eThekwini management as a sign of development and progress.

The building of a mall on this site was further pitched as an
opportunity for informal traders to trade in and around its environs,
when it was completed.

Furthermore, the mall was being packaged as a space where the more than
400 000 commuters who pass through there daily, will have a place to
rest and access other goods and services, such as clinics and post offices.

There are at least three fundamental flaws with this argument.

Firstly, there are about six major malls dotted around the extended city
The Pavilion, Musgrave, The Workshop, Westwood, La Lucia and Gateway -
where one will not encounter a single informal trader within their
immediate vicinity.

With the exception of fleamarket-type stalls, malls do not encourage the
presence of informal traders, especially fresh-produce traders, because
they generally compete with the supermarkets.

Secondly, to trade within a mall space (or even nearby), there are
rental costs and other levies that are built into being able to afford
the space. Are we to believe that informal traders will be able to
afford these higher costs, or is the city going to subsidise these levies?

And thirdly, the many commuters who travel through Warwick Junction who
would certainly welcome more (affordable) food and beverage stalls in
the area, are generally not going to be willing to fork out the extra
money to buy a branded fast-food burger which is, in any case, available
further down the street, when they can get something more reasonably
priced in the existing market.

Nor are they necessarily going to spend money within the mall for a
shirt they can get at a fleamarket down the road at a cheaper price.

Granted, while the city presented some impressive plans around
re-organising the public transport systems of the greater eThekwini
region which converge in the Warwick Junction, the addition of the mall
seemed to be out of place with the key objectives as outlined by the
city manager.

The following is what the city has planned to do:

  • Optimise the road-based system, by rationalising and consolidating
    public transport.

  • Reduce the number of traffic accidents which occur in the area.

  • Create a predominantly pedestrian preference corridor.

  • Consolidate and develop land uses for commercial, social and heritage

  • Eventually establish a single- ticket system which would enable
    commuters to travel via any mode of transport, using a single ticket.

  • Does the city really have to destroy 100 years of history, and
    substantively disrupt traders' livelihoods to achieve its objectives?

    And if one of the goals is to develop the land for heritage activities,
    exactly how does one achieve that by destroying the existing heritage of
    the space?

    Of course, if you are being given R1.5 billion for this development as
    part of the nationwide upgrades in preparation for the 2010 soccer World
    Cup, erasing almost a century of history isn't difficult to do.

    And it also becomes easier to refer to the Early Morning Market as the
    Indian market (as the city manager did on more than one occasion) to
    imply that those who are trying to preserve the market are actually only
    concerned about a specific interest group, in order to co-opt people.
    However, any trader or patron who walks through the Early Morning Market
    would know that the market caters to the needs of people of all race
    groups, and has been one of the successful commercial hubs in the city
    where traders from all backgrounds have managed to coexist harmoniously.

    It is, in fact, an ideal example of commercial prosperity for residents
    of the city, who have been historically disadvantaged.

    This kind of language by the city management can only be described as
    racially provocative.

    The city management also made reference to the fact that it was
    terminating the leases of all traders as of July 31, 2009. These traders
    would then have to reapply for permits to trade.

    While the issue of illegal traders and corruption was highlighted as a
    problem by the municipality, this move by the eThekwini council can only
    be seen as a bullying tactic to try to demobilise the political
    solidarity between traders, and create friction between the "legals" and

    While three of the four groups of traders who would be affected by the
    development were satisfied with arrangements that would be made to house
    them temporarily, the Early Morning Market group of traders have
    rightfully refused to be relocated and are pursuing legal options to
    ensure that the Early Morning Market structure is not demolished.

    What is actually unfolding here, is that people are being duped into
    accepting the mall development plans as something that will benefit them
    in future, and provide them with the potential to prosper.

    Sadly, however, the reality will be that the airconditioned environs of
    a mall will eventually push out the small business individual and
    informal traders, and when the commuters for whom the mall is supposedly
    being built, have to reach deeper into their pockets to pay for the
    "goods" and "services", they will prefer to shop at spaza shops nearer
    to their homes.

    In the final analysis, no one is denying that the Warwick Junction
    should be upgraded.

    Cleaner streets and trading areas, smooth public transport systems, more
    food and beverage carts and the like would be a welcome addition to the

    However, when a historic site is torn down in the interests of lining
    the pockets of business developers, it is not the "people" who are
    benefiting, but a small elite who will be smiling all the way to the bank.

    It will be a sad day for the city of Durban and the country when a
    hundred plus years of history is wiped out, if the Early Morning Market
    is demolished at the hands of the party in power.

    And when the ANC celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2012, it will be in
    the knowledge that its own legacy has been tainted with having committed
    a crime that its forefathers will not forgive them for.

    *Lubna Nadvi lectures political science at UKZN. She writes in her personal capacity.

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