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SA Protest News 18 August - 3 September 2009 (2009) SA Protest News 18 August - 3 September 2009.  : -.

Massdiscounters strike over
Mike Abrahams, SACCAWU Communications 1 September 2009

SACCAWU and Massdiscounters reached an agreement in the early hours of
Tuesday 1st September 2009 that will see thousands of striking workers
returning to work from 3 September. SACCAWU members at Massdiscounters
(Game stores) embarked upon strike action from 17th August 2009 over
several issues including; wage increases, minimum wages, benefits for
part-timers and flexi-timers and an end to the unilateral changes of
terms and conditions of employment. While thousands of workers had been
on strike since 17th August, a further 700 other workers were locked-out
without pay for about three months for refusing to accept the unilateral
changes of terms and conditions of employment. All these workers will
also return to work while awaiting the outcome of the appeal from the
Labour Court.

After lengthy negotiations which continued until 4am on the morning of
1st September, the following agreement was reached:

§ An across the board increase of R375-00 per month for all full-time
permanent employees.

§ A minimum wage of R2700-00 per month.

§ Permanent part-timers will receive a pro-rata increased based on the
Across The Board increase.

§ Permanent part-timers will receive 60% of monthly income of basic
salary as bonus to be paid in December. This will also be extended to
all flexi-time employees in the employ of the company for longer than
six months.

§ All employees who had benefits, including commission and incentives,
withheld for the month of July, the month of the one day protest march
of 24th July, will be paid such benefits.

§ A committee will be set up between the two parties and meet before
the end of September to deal with progression from flexi-time to
part-time employment status.

§ A forum facilitated by the CCMA will consider all disciplinary
related maters flowing from the industrial action.

This agreement will be effective from 1st July 2009 – 30 June 2010.

All workers locked-out in relation to the dispute over the unilateral
imposition of the biometrics (finger print template clock-in system)
will return to work and the parties will await the outcome of the appeal
currently at the Labour Court.

Thousands of SACCAWU members engaged in the this strike showed
remarkable restrain and discipline, despite the normal tensions and
provocations associated with industrial action. SACCAWU thank all our
members, our allies, customers and the community at large who expressed
solidarity and did not cross the picket line.

Court halts protests by soldiers
The Mercury 2 September 2009

An interdict to stop soldiers from embarking on illegal marches and to
prevent them from making "irresponsible remarks" was issued by the High
Court in Pretoria late on Tuesday evening.

"It is clear both unions are condoning activities that seem to border on
disrespect for authority and disobeying orders... and that is a
dismissible offence," said ministry of defence and military veterans
spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

The interdict was granted to the defence minister, the secretary of
defence and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) against
members of the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) and South
African Security Forces Unions' (Sasfu).

The department earlier said the SANDF was issuing up to 2 000 letters of
dismissal to soldiers believed to have taken part in last week's protest
at the Union Buildings which ended in chaos.

It sought a legal remedy after the unions had reacted to the dismissals
by allegedly encouraging their members not to accept the dismissal letters.

"We have been watching the comments made by Sandu... telling their
members not to accept the disciplinary letters... a soldier who does not
accept it is in disobedience of a lawful order," Mabaya said.

"Most importantly in the barracks we are receiving information that
Sandu is mobilising soldiers to disobey orders from commanders... and we
received information that they are mobilising soldiers to protest again.
We needed to stop that."

He added that it was a means of protecting soldiers themselves from
losing their jobs.

"We thought its very important to do that, if we don't, it puts a lot of
soldiers at risk of losing their work... it is also in a sense
protecting the soldiers from the irresponsible acts of Sandu."

Mabaya said it was the largest number of soldiers the SANDF had intended
firing at once. They had 10 days to respond to the letters of dismissal.

He rejected suggestions by defence unions that this process was unsound
and that a military or magistrate's court was more appropriate.

"We are determined that this is the process," said Mabaya, in response
to Sandu's and Sasfu's contention that it did not start from the point
of a presumption of innocence.

Mabaya said the ministry had already proved that they were guilty.

"They stay in barracks, so we know who was in and who was out. We have a
list of people who were not at work."

He said soldiers who may have come down with an illness on the day, or
who had taken leave, would have been picked up through controls and in
this way it was possible to work out who had participated.

Soldiers intended protesting over pay and working conditions last week,
but an eleventh hour court application by the SANDF saw the Pretoria
march banned and the permission granted by the metro police cancelled.

According to television footage, shortly after that a group of people
thought to be protesting soldiers was seen scaling the fence at the
Union Buildings, and the interior of a police car was set alight with
police firing rubber bullets to bring the group under control.

The protesters were reportedly trying to take their grievances to
President Jacob Zuma, whose office is in the buildings, and who is also
commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Zuma said at the time: "I don't think it is acceptable that security
forces, particularly the army, behave in the way they behaved."

The letter asks for details of where the recipient was on August 26 -
the day of the incident, said Pikkie Greeff, national secretary of
Sandu, which intends applying for a court interdict to have the letters

Sasfu said it was urgently trying to secure a meeting with the Minister
of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu to have the letters
withdrawn and would also turn to the courts if this failed.

Deputy secretary general of the union Vincent Sibiya agreed with Sandu's
stance, saying the letters were not covered by any policy in the army. -

SA starts firing soldiers after protest
Reuters 1 September 2009

South Africa began firing thousands of soldiers who marched illegally
over pay in the capital Pretoria last week and clashed with police, the
Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

Police fired rubber bullets and teargas at soldiers after a protest over
salaries, which a court had ruled illegal, turned violent. The soldiers'
union is demanding a 30% pay rise.

"Last week the Minister said all the people who participated in the
strike would be dismissed," Defence spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

"There are about 1 500 to 2 000 people that we are interested in. So the
letters have started going to them."

The South African Press Association quoted a union adviser as saying 460
soldiers had received dismissal letters, ordering them to leave work.

"They have ten days to motivate to the Minister on why they should not
be dismissed. It is only final after ten days," South African National
Defence Union's legal adviser Michael Thekiso said.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) condemned the protest and
called for urgent action to be taken against those who had defied the
court ruling.

"Members of the South African National Defence Force are the custodians
of the Constitution and the actions of South African National Defence
Union members, which led to violence in the form of vandalism and
destruction to property, undermined the country's national security,"
the ANC's national working committee said in a statement.

Burning demand fuelled by frustration

Five years ago today, 17-year-old Teboho Mkhonza took a fatal bullet
during South Africa's first service delivery protest in Intabazwe,
north-eastern Free State.

The people of the township had reached the end of their tether. They had
raised their grievances with the local authorities, but their demands
fell on deaf ears. They had repeatedly knocked on the doors of
officialdom, but found them firmly shut. And in an unprecedented act of
defiance, they took to the streets to vent their anger.

On Monday, August 30, 2004 the township folk toyi-toyied to the N3
outside Harrismith and blocked the highway between Durban and Joburg.
More than 4 000 pairs of feet hammered the tarmac that day, outnumbering
the police by more than a hundred to one. Tensions were high on both sides.

The people of Intabazwe were expressing years of pent-up frustration.
The police were dealing with a form of social expression they had not
witnessed since the days of apartheid. In one frenetic moment they
opened fire on the protesters. One bullet proved fatal.

It was not dissimilar to what happened in Sharpeville 50 years ago when
the police opened fire on thousands of protesters who had defied the
pass laws, leaving 69 corpses strewn in its wake.

The moral of the two tales is not all that different. In both instances
mobs of protesters overwhelmed the police, who used force to fight back.
The results were fatal on both accounts. Only the scale differed.

What happened in Sharpeville was a massacre. What took place in
Intabazwe would become known as a service delivery protest.

Little did the people of that township know then that they would start a
trend in social protests that would continue to this day. Indeed, little
did the Free State realise that it would become the breeding ground for
service delivery protests, though these have since spread like wildfire
to other provinces.

With the exception of 2006 - the year of the last local elections - the
number of such protests has increased dramatically year-on-year. During
the first seven months of 2009 alone, more protests were recorded than
during any other full year since 2004, according to Municipal IQ, a
web-based data and intelligence bank. All social and economic data
suggests that the peak in the protests has yet to come.

Of the country's 231 municipalities, not counting the 52 districts or
the country's six metros, the poorest among them, in terms of household
income, are all in KwaZulu-Natal.

According to IHS Global Insight, Dannhauser, in northern KwaZulu-Natal,
is the poorest of them all, with 78.7 percent of its inhabitants living
in poverty. It's followed closely by Okhahlamba, where 78.4 percent of
locals are living in dire straits, and eDumbe, where 77.8 percent of all
locals are similarly registered.

Poverty, according to Global Insight, means a household with an average
of three people who get by on R1 780 a month or less between them.

In the Western Cape, the highest level of poverty was captured in the
Cederberg municipality at 45.5 percent.

In Gauteng, Lesedi, which is home to Heidelberg, had a 45.3 percent
poverty rate.

According to the same rankings, and excluding the successful metros,
Mossel Bay records the lowest level of poverty nationwide at 14.5
percent, followed by Knysna with 17.1 percent and Katelopele, at the
foothills of the Kuruman Hills in the Northern Cape, with 17.2 percent.
This municipality also has one of the highest regional gross domestic
products per head, at R159 948.

Household income paints only a partial picture, though. When Global
Insight examined something as basic as the share of households in a
given municipality with access to "hygienic toilets", the municipalities
of Mbhashe in the Eastern Cape and Maphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal are found
most wanting, with less than one in 10 houses reporting a successful
access rate.

Yet, while Laingsburg, in the Western Cape, records all houses as having
hygienic toilets, 42.8 percent of its inhabitants still live in poverty,
suggesting that while the municipality has been efficient on one level,
job creation and economic activity are lagging.

Municipal IQ has also found some of the worst indicators in
KwaZulu-Natal in terms of municipalities not spending or unable to spend
their budgets.

The Cabinet now taking a firm stand on protests that turn violent
The Herald 31 August 2009

CABINET statements are generally noteworthy for being somewhat bland and
for what they do not say, rather than anything else often containing a
list of appointments that have been approved, presentations received and
noted and legislation approved.

One notable exception was last week, when Cabinet pronounced bluntly on
the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the protest by soldiers at the
Union Buildings that turned violent. With regard to the BRT, government
said it remained committed to negotiate with the taxi industry but
stressed that it “condemns all threats of violence against the
implementation of the BRT”.

“Such threats of violence and actual violent conduct are viewed in a
very serious light and will not be tolerated. The law enforcement
agencies will not hesitate to take strong action against those who
either threaten or perpetrate any form of violence. Whilst the right to
protest by those who are unhappy about the BRT is respected, this right
cannot be exercised at the expense of law abiding citizens who have an
equal right to a safe, punctual and efficient ride between home and work.”

Regarding the protest by soldiers, Cabinet stated: “Defying a court
order, engaging in unnecessary violent behaviour, causing damage to
private and public property, and attempting to invade the seat of
government is totally unacceptable, especially from people who have the
responsibility of being the true defenders of the Constitution. All
those who were involved in this unruly behaviour must expect no sympathy
from the state, as the law will take its course.

“The time is fast approaching where the state cannot be expected to
stand by while the laws of the land are being trampled upon, public and
private property is being destroyed, untold damage is being caused to
the country’s reputation as a stable and emerging democracy, and, most
importantly, the rights of law abiding citizens are being infringed upon
in the name of protesting.”

That was followed by a statement from Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
that those involved would be dismissed from the South African National
Defence Force.

Those who have watched with increasing concern the lawlessness that has
accompanied some industrial action and wondered at what point government
would act will applaud this tough stance. The question they will ask is
why after so many years of indulgence government has decided it will no
longer tolerate this kind of behaviour and will act decisively.

There are probably several reasons, not least of which is the Fifa 2010
World Cup, and the fact that this country is under the spotlight and
will continue to be until after the event. The BRT system is required
for the event although it is also a legacy project that will provide
those who were geographically marginalised during the apartheid era with
efficient public transport.

A second reason is that the violence and vandalism we have seen in the
past has been the work of civilians. Last Wednesday’s protest was by
soldiers, who in the words of Cabinet had the “responsibility of being
the true defenders of the Constitution”.

Sisulu used the word “anarchy” to describe what took place at the Union

Thirdly, there appears to be a determination by the new administration
under President Jacob Zuma to get to grips with meeting the challenges
that face this country. That has been evident, for example, in the
analysis of spending that has been taking place at national and
provincial level that is revealing terrifying levels of wastage in the past.

Plans on cutting costs across all levels of government in the light of
significantly lower tax receipts are now at an advanced stage.

It is also evident in the tough stance the administration and ANC are
taking on the issue of tackling corruption with secretary-general Gwede
Mantashe apparently stating when he met ANC councillors and the regional
executive in Nelson Mandela Bay that if the forensic audit into
contracts concluded by the metro uncovered evidence of wrongdoing there
would be no mercy. That, he apparently said, was an instruction from Zuma.

Fourthly, there is the enigma that is Zuma. Having entered Tuynhuys
after corruption charges against him were dropped the question uppermost
in many minds was just what kind of head of state he would make, with
the suspicion being voiced that he would tinker with the independence of
the judiciary and make “sweetheart” appointments.

We have yet to see whether that happens. He does, however, appear to be
far more determined to get to grips with the socio-economic challenges
facing this country than often appeared to be the case with his
predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, whose commitments made in state of the nation
addresses were often not followed up with the required action and

Does Zuma perhaps believe that is where his legacy lies?

69 arrested in Motherwell protest
The Herald 31 August 2009

SIXTY-NINE people were arrested outside the Motherwell municipal offices
today (August 31) for barricading the gates with burning tyres and
stones, Port Elizabeth police said.

“They were complaining about their houses that need to be repaired for
leaking and so forth,” Inspector Dumile Gwavu said.

He said they had barricaded the gates to prevent people from entering
the building.

He said after the arrests, municipal workers were able to go to work.

“The situation is now normal,” Gwavu said. – Sapa

Taxi’s drivers on illegal go slow

The South African National Taxi Council did not approve the protest
organised by taxi drivers today against of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid
Transport system which began operations yesterday.

sa taxis*Commuters in the city centre and parts of Soweto flocked to the
BRT stations as majority of taxi drivers parked on the side of the road
on a go slow while the organisation postponed tomorrows strike.

SANTACO secretary general Phillip Taaibosch says members will be meeting

Journo hurt in Dbn protest
31 August 2009

Durban - A Sunday Times photographer and five IFP Youth Brigade members
were wounded when police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesting
youth wing members in Durban on Monday.

Tepogo Letsie was one of the reporters who ducked for cover when police
fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Letsie was hit with a rubber bullet in is his abdomen and immediately
went to hospital.

Two cars were damaged when protesters tried to avoid being shot at by
rubber bullets.

"Police behaviour was unacceptable. They just fired rubber bullets
without issuing a warning. More than five people including a journalist
were injured for no apparent reason,” said IFP Youth Brigade leader,
Mbokodo Mbatha.

Illegal protest

He said they would lodge a formal complaint against the police.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said the police had
fired rubber bullets because the protest was illegal.

He said according to the Public Gathering Act, police were supposed to
issue a warning either by using a loudhailer or by word of mouth to
people gathering illegally.

Two rival IFP youth camps were protesting outside the party's offices in
Durban. Neither of them had permits to gather.

One group was demanding the reinstatement of three youth brigade
leaders, Irvin Barnes, Kumbuzo Khanyeza and Simpiwe Buthelezi.

The IFP recently expelled the youth brigade leaders, after they led a
protest calling for transformation in the party.

Mmabatho Nursing Students Protest
Sapa 31 August 2009

Seven students at the Mmabatho Nursing College were arrested on Monday
for public violence during a strike, North West police said.

"Today seven students were arrested for public violence after they
barricaded the road near the college.

"They started throwing stones at police who were trying to remove
burning tyres and wood stumps from the road," said Captain Sabata

One of the protesters was injured, but police could not confirm that the
person was shot when police fired rubber bullets.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) condemned the incident.

"Denosa notes with utter disgust and strongly condemns the shooting of
innocent nursing students in Mmabatho Nursing College in the North West
Province," said its spokesman Asanda Fongqo in a statement.

Students had been protesting against issues including:

# Lack of cooking personnel

# Not being given uniform allowances

# Lack of a housing allowance

The union said that some students were shot at by police.

"We want to emphasise that none of the demonstrating students embarked
on any public violence. These students are peacefully demonstrating
voicing their justified demands," the union said.

It demanded the "immediate" release of the students who were arrested
and called on police to "stop shooting innocent students". - Sapa

Protest in KZN over RDP houses
SAPA 28 August 2009

Johannesburg - A group of residents angry over the allocation of RDP
houses staged a protest outside the Lamontville council offices on
Friday, said KwaZulu-Natal police.

"There have been no reports of violence. What we know is that the
marchers barricaded one of the roads in that area," said Superintendent
Daniela Veldhuizen.

She said police were at the scene monitoring the illegal strike.

Let them trade toyi-toyi for lobbying skills, council told
Katherine Wilkinson The Herald 30 August 2009

Lack of power lights way for protest march
RATHER than toyi-toyi in the streets, people unhappy about their living
conditions should be trained to lobby government on issues that affected
them, two NGO representatives told the Knysna council yesterday.

In a presentation to council, Evelyn Benekane and Thembisa Soga said
their organisations helped municipalities liaise with communities and
explain development processes.

“For example, people want houses (but they) need to understand the
processes that need to be followed.

“It doesn’t just happen like a mushroom.”

Benekane said NGO field workers could set up meetings between
communities, community leaders and town councillors to open lines of

They also hoped to help create money-savings groups of between 20 and 40
women who collectively would be able to access funding for community and
individual projects.

Benekane said the NGOs worked in provinces across South Africa.

She said Knysna council’s response to their presentation had been
positive, and she had also met community leaders of Nekkies and Dam-se-
Bos yesterday.

Councillor Winile Joyi said the initiative was to be welcomed, but
should not clash with council’s plans.

The town where dreams bite the dust: They sparked a nationwide service-delivery phenomenon five years ago but there still seems little hope for the bitter residents of a beleaguered Free State township
Fiona Forde Sunday Independent 30 August 2009

Five years ago today, the people of Intabazwe woke up to the sobering
fact that little had changed in their lives, despite the radical changes
the country had undergone.

It was 2004, but as far as they were concerned it could just as easily
have been 1984. A decade into the new democracy, the township had still
not seen better days. And so they staged South Africa's first service
delivery protest in the north-east of the Free State.

Perched on a hilltop a few kilometres outside Harrismith, Intabazwe was
no different to thousands of other townships around the country at that
time. Infrastructure was pathetic. The new RDP houses constructed at the
end of the township were serviced by a dirt track which taxi drivers
refused to navigate. The keys of the earlier RDP houses had fallen into
the hands of middle-class folk, privileged people in the eyes of the
poor local residents, people who were not always the most deserving
among them, or so they felt.

Refuse collection was ad-hoc. Water and sanitation were poor.
Unemployment was high. HIV/Aids was beginning to leave its deathly mark.
An informal settlement was mushrooming on the fringe of the highway.
Some of the power poles and houses brought down by the tornado in 1988
were still strewn in their midst.

Hope was not only beginning to wane but fuelling their frustrations was
the feeling they were losing out to the nearby town of QwaQwa, the
administrative seat of the Maluti-a-Phofung municipality to which they
belong. Cronyism and nepotism were rife and getting in the way of their
own development. Tenders were falling into the wrong hands.

The mayor, Dr Balekile Mzangwa, was the epitome of invincibility in
their eyes. He had taken a top-down approach to his people and would
impose rather than consult. And Intabazwe was becoming entangled in a
time warp as a result.

"So we delivered our grievances to the municipality on July 23 and we
gave them two weeks to respond," Neo Motaung recalls.

Motaung, who was 24 then, was the secretary of the local ANC Youth
League and one of the leaders of the Greater Harrismith Concerned
Residents (GHCR), a group that had decided to take matters into their
own hands earlier that year. By the time winter set in, he had become
their ringleader.

The 14-day deadline came and went, but still there was no response to
their demands. So, on August 10 he led a 100-strong delegation to the
municipal headquarters in QwaQwa where they staged a sit-in.

"We wanted the municipality to be ungovernable," he says.

Back then Premier Ace Magashule was the ANC provincial chairman and he
promised Motaung's delegation a response from Mzangwa within a fortnight
and, with that, managed to send the crowd packing. Yet 14 days on, there
was still no response.

"Then we sent the mayor a 24-hour ultimatum and said: 'If you don't
respond, we are taking to the streets'," says Motaung. "That was the
decision of the people."

Their words would fall on deaf ears for a third time, though. And so it
was on August 29 that the people of Intabazwe began to stage the
country's first service delivery protest, an expression of social anger
and frustration that has become a worrying norm ever since.

Throughout that Sunday they began to close the roads around the
township, "wanting no one to come and no one to move out," as Motaung
recalls. They had planned to march the couple of kilometres down the
hill to Harrismith the following day and wanted to ensure nothing would
stand in their way.

But as they began to gather just after 7am on that Monday to take the
back route to the town, the local police officers pushed them back.

The thousand or so protestors duly did a U-turn and began to march
towards the main entrance to the township which exits on to the N3 highway.

And as they toy-toyied through the township their numbers began to
swell. School children began to file out of their classrooms to join the
noisy mob. Housewives dropped whatever they were doing to fall in behind

By the time it reached the highway, the rioting crowd was an estimated 4
000-strong mob.

By 11am they had blocked the N3, too many in number by then for the
police to push them back a second time.

That's when the police opened fire, wounding 17-year-old Teboho Mkhonza.
He died soon after.

"That bullet was meant for me," Motaung says, an admission that doesn't
make him feel any better. It's just a cold reminder of how high the
temperatures soared that day.

For Brenda Tsotetsi, the dead boy's sister, things went too far that
Monday. To this day she is none the wiser about which of the officers
killed her brother. The case came to a close a couple of years ago, but
no-one was held accountable.

"It's too much. Too much to pay, for nothing," she says.

Mkhonza was laid to rest the weekend after he died but still another few
days would pass before the township would return to normality. By the
time it did, however, the protests had been beamed into towns and cities
all over the country and "service delivery protests" had entered the
South African lexicon.

Looking back, it all seems so futile because so little appears to have
changed for the people of Intabazwe. If Rip van Winkel's black brothers
were to awake today from a years-long slumber they would be forgiven for
thinking it was yesterday all over again with the locals trotting out a
list of concerns that are near-identical to those of 2004.

What's new are the names and faces of the community leadership who have
taken up where the Concerned Residents left off, a group that has long
since been disbanded. Its erstwhile leaders were brought in from the
cold a few years back, the locals claim, their coughs softened with cosy
municipal jobs.

A new group appeared in their place earlier this year, calling
themselves the Greater Harrismith Social Economic Development Forum.
They too marched on the local offices just a few weeks back as a way to
vent their anger, express their outrage. Too little is happening, they
insist, and what does happen is still skewed in QwaQwa's favour.
Mzangwa, who is still the mayor, is still the object of their
frustration, all these years later.

"The ANC is not the problem, it's the individuals who are involved," the
forum's spokesperson Bheki Mazibuko told the Sunday Independent this week.

"Our people are angry. We don't want violence, but we can't keep
promising them something that does not exist.

"And they know what's happening all over the country. They watch these
protests on television."

Mzangwa denied that the municipality favours QwaQwa, yet couldn't put a
figure on either the municipal budget he manages or Intabazwe's
proportional allocation.

Jonathan Ramulondi, the municipal finance officer, was equally vague.

"If you want the figure, get it off our website," he said. "I don't know
what it is."

Their apparent apathy will not get them very far though in a district
where 24 percent of all households record a monthly expenditure of less
than R400, according to the most recent Household Survey.

According to HIS Global Insight, 45.9 percent of all residents of the
Maluti-a-Phofung municipality are living in poverty. According to the
same data bank, only six in every 10 households have "hygienic toilets".

According to BT Tshabalala, a councillor in Intabazwe, the number of
shacks that are stacked up on the perimeter of the township have grown
from 500 last year to 600 this year. According to the township's
residents, their shrill cries of discontent are still not being heard,
though they remain as impatient today as they were five years ago.

It was indicators such as these that started the trend back then.

Municipal IQ, which banks municipal data and intelligence, has been
monitoring social protests in the past few years and has watched them
peak in the first seven months of this year.

# In tomorrow's edition of The Star, Fiona Forde asks what it will take
for the government to turn this trend around? Or how long will it take
for another Sharpeville to set this country alight?

Burning issues at core of community protests
Kevin Allan and Karen Heese (Sunday Independent) 30 August 2009

For anyone who watches the news, even only on occasion, there is little
doubt that service delivery protests have escalated in number and
severity over the past few months. The latest data from Municipal IQ's
Hotspots Monitor, which monitors the occurrence of service delivery
demonstrations across South Africa, shows there have been more major
protests so far this year than any year since they started in 2004, and
the year is not over yet.

Given the large number of protests this year it is no surprise there is
a growing concern among the public as to why these protests are
happening and whether, and where, they will happen next. The somewhat
uncertain response by both government and analysts has done little to
allay the public's fears.

In truth, the reasons behind the protests are generally poorly
understood and this has fuelled speculation as to why protests occur and
indeed whether these protests are even about service delivery. But for
Municipal IQ, the term "service delivery protest" if not always
absolutely accurate is wholly adequate - it describes a protest which is
galvanised by inadequate local services or tardy service delivery, the
responsibility for which lies with a municipality. The term is also
useful in that it makes clear there are similar protests occurring
across the country - to re-define such protests in different ways
confuses the issue and draws attention away from the fact this is a
national phenomenon with pressing causes.

Research from Municipal IQ's Hotspots Monitors shows clear evidence most
protests this year continue to occur in informal settlement in our
largest metros (a continuation of a trend of previous years).

Cities such as Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Cape Town have experienced a
rash of service delivery protests this year as have a number of towns in
the provinces of the North West and Mpumalanga such as the now notorious

But it must be remembered these cities experience the highest population
growth rates of all our localities; and in fact there is a strong
statistical link between high levels of migration and service delivery

Urbanisation, essentially the influx of poor migrants to cities, is
prompted by the search for jobs, and therefore is most pronounced in
areas of economic growth. But this results in an irony: although service
delivery protests are commonly perceived as an indication of a failure
of local government, Municipal IQ has found a strong link between
municipal productivity (a measure of local government success) and
service delivery protests - those in search of jobs move to successful
cities where they perceive there to be economic opportunity.
Unfortunately, most migrants find themselves unemployed, living in one
of the many hundreds of informal settlements on the periphery of these
large metros, effectively marginalised from access to economic
opportunity, as well as housing and services.

The rapid growth of informal settlements as well as metros'
unwillingness to accept them as a permanent reality in their midst has
meant a slow response to the service delivery needs of communities in
these areas.

In these cases, a large part of the problem sparking protests has been
very poor communication between representatives of metros and
communities, essentially the task of ward councillors and local
officials. The reason for this is partly pragmatic - informal
settlements contain neither the number of registered voters nor the
local branch lobbying strength of more formalised areas, but also
because the fluidity of informal settlements is such they do not
necessarily present themselves as organised communities with
representative leaders. Including communities from informal settlements
in local governance and planning processes requires far more work than
in other more formal areas of metros.

An assessment of service delivery protests in metros makes clear how a
lack of access to information often leads to the rapid spread of rumours
of favouritism, corruption, and mismanagement - often untrue. Added to
this, the need for services in these areas is not only greater than any
other area of a metro but is indeed in most cases an absolutely
desperate need.

While the violence and criminality often associated with service
delivery protests is unacceptable and should be condemned out of hand,
it is worth remembering that the communities living in informal
settlements are essentially excluded from society - they do not have
access to economic or social opportunities and find themselves on the
outside looking in. But Municipal IQ research on poverty levels in wards
in which protests take place shows that, while communities in these
areas are desperately poor and contain some of the highest unemployment
rates in the country, they still have better access to local services
than residents in the poorest municipalities in our rural areas and
indeed than a national average. However, they are significantly poorer
than neighbouring wards. They observe communities in more formalised
neighbouring areas benefiting from upgraded services and they observe
councillors and local officials cruising past in large cars, while they
wait endlessly for their turn.

This sense of relative deprivation, and inequality within an urban
context, is key to understanding why protests take place. People will
wait for service delivery, but not if it seems everyone else in their
municipality is getting services before them. Add to this the
marginalisation and exclusion felt by communities in informal
settlements and the general desperation for services in these areas, and
top it all off with a lack of information from the municipality. In this
environment a fast-spreading rumour of mismanagement or corruption or
nepotism is all the spark needed to set off a violence-fuelled protest.

Government at all levels (national, provincial and local) has to look,
in a number of practical ways, at why service delivery protests are
taking place and what can be done to mitigate them. Central to this is a
recognition that local councils can no longer afford to ignore the
plight of informal settlements in the metros in which most protests take
place. Two things seem pertinent to Municipal IQ:

Local councils, through ward councillors and local officials, need to
develop a specific communication strategy to include communities in
informal settlements in the processes of local councils. This will not
only serve to include people in planning processes and alleviate the
frustration most of these communities have expressed at being excluded,
but will also deal with the lack of communication in these areas and the
spread of often false or exaggerated rumours of corruption, nepotism and

The national departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional
Affairs, as well as Human Settlements in partnership with local
government, should clarify a much-needed interim policy on the
formalisation of informal settlements and the integration of these areas
into those urban municipalities where they occur.

Johannesburg, a few weeks ago, was the first South African city to put
such a policy in place and certainly much can be learned by other
municipalities from this experience.

# Allan is Municipal IQ's Managing Director; Heese is Municipal IQ's
economist. Municipal IQ is a web-based data and intelligence service
(, specialising in the monitoring and assessment
of South Africa's municipalities.

Taxi industry backs off strike action again
Fiona Forde August 30 August 2009

For the second time in as many days, the taxi industry has been forced
to accept defeat and has backed down from its proposed strike action,
just hours ahead of the ceremonial launch of the Bus Rapid Transit
System this morning.

The industry had threatened to begin a strike on Tuesday in protest at
the Rea Vaya pilot route of the BRT, which, they say, could have a
direct and negative impact on their livelihoods. They claim to have been
insufficiently consulted about the route by the city's authorities.

However, during an eleventh-hour meeting on the East Rand, some 50
executive members of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco),
lobby group United Taxi Association Forum (UTAF), and other members of
the industry have agreed to negotiate rather than strike - for now, at

"We accede that we were not organised enough and that we had not
communicated sufficiently with our members so we decided to call off the
strike," Santaco's Philip Taaibosch told The Sunday Independent.

"But that is not to say that we will not strike in the future. All we
are saying is that we will not strike on Tuesday and we will not strike
until we have communicated fully with our members. When that will be, I
cannot say now."

The move came a day after the industry failed in its bid for an urgent
court interdict to halt the BRT which was heard in the North Gauteng
High Court on Friday.

Calling off the strike must not be misunderstood as the industry's
support for BRT, Taaibosch said. "Certainly not in its current form. Of
that we are sure," he said.

It would appear, however, that the industry has bowed to the weight of
national and provincial government, which last week took its strongest
stand yet against the taxis.

Minister for Transport Sbu Ndebele, his deputy Jeremy Cronin and Gauteng
Premier Nomvula Mokonyane were emphatic that disruptions to Rea Vaya
would not be tolerated.

Govt gears up for violence
Sello Alcock 29 August 2009

Government is planning a massive show of political and security muscle
at Sunday's launch of Johannesburg's Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
system. But the taxi industry has warned that "serious violence" is
almost inevitable if the weekend's launch goes ahead.

President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to test one of the new BRT buses on
Sunday and the launch is intended to display the government's political
will and support for the BRT system.

A source close to the BRT planning process told the Mail & Guardian that
discussions had been held with security agencies about the possibility
that the army could be called in to help the police control strike
action on Tuesday by taxi organisations angered by the implementation of
the BRT.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane signalled government's hardening of
attitude this week when she said the province would not be "held to
ransom" by the taxi industry.

The ANC and the SACP also weighed in, demanding that "law enforcement
agencies protect ordinary citizens on the day of the strike ... that the
laws of our land be enforced and the lawlessness akin to some elements
among taxi operators stop".

"Security agencies should be all out to prevent the violence associated
with marches and strikes especially by the taxi industry," the ANC and
SACP said. "The lives of law-abiding citizens and the public
infrastructure of the BRT should be protected against any perpetrator of

The Gauteng government has promised to clamp down on any strike-related
violence on Tuesday, saying the army will reinforce the police if
necessary. Sizwe Matshikiza, spokesperson for Gauteng community safety
minister Khabisi Mosonkuntu, said his department was "ready to contend
with any likelihood" of violence on Tuesday and that a "leading [police]
commissioner" had said he would not hesitate calling on the defence
force should the need arise.

Mosonkuntu has held meetings with police commanders to discuss
"doubling" police numbers on the day of the strike, Matshikiza said, and
has advised South Africans to use "alternative transport" on the day.

"We shall not tolerate people who deny other road users the use of the
roads," said Matshikiza. The country's intelligence agencies had been
consulted and "weaponry" to deal with situations such as protesting taxi
drivers "driving at 5km an hour" had been secured, he said.

On Thursday the likelihood of violence if the BRT launch goes ahead was
raised in court papers on behalf of 27 taxi associations led by the
South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) seeking to halt the
implementation of the BRT.

"The taxi industry is known for unfortunate incidents of violence in the
past due to the competition in respect of taxis and routes between the
different taxi associations," according to an affidavit by United Taxi
Association Forum spokesperson Ralph Jones, who filed the urgent
application at the North Gauteng High Court on behalf of the taxi
associations. "I fear that should the BRT system be implemented … the
desperation of taxi people involved may well lead to serious incidences
of violence."

What has become apparent, said Jones, is the BRT system will be cheaper
than the current taxi service, which will destroy the current routes

"The consequences of this will be that 575 taxis will compete with other
taxis in other areas elsewhere in the province and in the country which
will only lead to violence," Jones said.

He said the national transport department, which Zuma had directed to
facilitate talks with taxi organisations, and the City of Johannesburg
acted in "bad faith" as they were aware that the BRT would go ahead at
any cost.

Meanwhile, Santaco has rejected a statement from the national transport
ministry on Thursday that the strike has been called off. The statement
said the ministry and Santaco "agreed that there will be no strike and
that the launch of BRT operations in Johannesburg will go ahead with the
participation of all stakeholders, including Santaco and local taxi

On Thursday afternoon Jones told the M&G there was no such agreement, as
did Santaco general secretary Philip Taaibosch.

Taxi strike called off

A nationwide strike by the taxi industry planned for Monday will no
longer take place, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco)
said on Friday.

"There will be no strike," Santaco secretary general Phillip Taaibosch
said after the High Court in Pretoria ruled against an urgent
application by the taxi industry to prevent the launch of the Bus Rapid
Transport system.

After hearing arguments, Judge Willie Seriti said he was not convinced
that Santaco had made a case for urgency and dismissed its application
with costs.

The BRT system will be launched on Sunday and will begin running on
August 31 between Soweto and Johannesburg.

It has raised the ire of taxi bosses, who feel it threatens their

Arguing for Santaco, Gys Rautenbach said the industry had realised only
on August 17 that the government planned to implement BRT even though
negotiations were under way in the national joint working group.

Legal teams for the government and the City of Johannesburg, argued that
the "urgency was of their [Santaco's] own making".

They submitted that Santaco's contention that violence could erupt if
the government went ahead with its plans was a separate issue and not
one to be dealt with when deliberating urgency.

Speaking outside court, Santaco president Arthur Mthembu said he thought
the government had been "genuine" when it said it would delay
implementation until the industry had been properly consulted.

"At the end of the day there's been double-dealing," he said.

Mthembu said members would meet on Sunday to decide on a course of
action. Passive resistance was a possibility.

"In that one, it does not need to be met with the might of the law," he

However, taxi owners expressed frustration as they left the court, and
maintained that they would still be striking.

"If we get killed, if the commuters get killed, so be it," one man said
loudly while leaving court.

Earlier, a group of protesters gathered peacefully outside the court to
show their support for the taxi industry.

Waving placards reading: "No to the BRT", the group was quick to anger
when a lawyer shouted: "Viva BRT".

He was chased away by the crowd, which threatened to kill him before he
being whisked to safety by the police.

The industry complains that the government asked them to register their
routes, then placed the new bus system on those routes without
consulting them.

They also argue that the bus system will inevitably be cheaper than
taxis and they will lose their passengers and their livelihoods.

The government is adamant that implementation will go ahead as scheduled.

Following the Cabinet's fortnightly meeting on Wednesday, the government
warned the taxi industry that it will push ahead with the implementation
of the system.

The first phase of BRT will be implemented in four cities, Johannesburg,
Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria -- starting with Johannesburg.

Should the trial run prove successful, the BRT system is expected to
cover 1 400km across the country by 2025. - Sapa

Cabinet warns on protest violence
Sapa 27 August 2009

Cabinet on Thursday warned of stronger police action against the
organisers and those taking part in violent and destructive protests.

"Those who organise these marches, those who openly perpetuate and
promote violent action, the State will start acting against those
individuals," government spokesperson Themba Maseko told a media
briefing in Cape Town, following Cabinet's fortnightly meeting on Wednesday.

The warning comes a day after rampaging soldiers invaded the grounds of
the Union Buildings in Pretoria, damaging vehicles and throwing a petrol
bomb, before being dispersed by police using rubber bullets and teargas.

Maseko said the Cabinet condemned, "in the strongest possible terms",
the illegal and violent protest at the Union Buildings by members of the
South African National Defence Union.

Among other things, it had caused untold damage to South Africa's
reputation as a stable and emerging democracy.

"Defying a court order, engaging in unnecessary violent behaviour,
causing damage to private and public property, and attempting to invade
the seat of government is totally unacceptable.

"The time is fast approaching where the State cannot be expected to
stand by while the laws of the land are being trampled upon."

Asked to spell out what new, stronger action might be taken against such
violent protests, Maseko said the police would be "mandated to make sure
that there is strict compliance with the laws of the land".

Several soldiers and a policemen were injured, and police and military
vehicles were damaged on Wednesday, when the protest by 3 000 soldiers
demanding higher wages turned violent.

Two soldiers were arrested.

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu angrily described the incident as
"anarchy" and said it had put national security at risk.

Maseko said those who actively participated in burning and destroying
property, both public and private, must expect to be arrested by the police.

"Not enough of that has been happening, and you should expect to see a
stronger hand on the part of the police to actually make sure that
people are held to account for breaking the laws of this country," he said.
Edited by: Sapa

Zuma echoes ‘get tough’ message for violent protests
Brendan Boyle (The Times) 27 August 2009

THE escalating wave of violent protests around the country has the
government rattled and the Cabinet now want a police crackdown on such

“The state cannot be expected to stand by while the laws of the land are
being trampled upon, public and private property is being destroyed, and
untold damage is being caused to the country’s reputation as a stable
and emerging democracy,” the Cabinet said in a statement yesterday.
Cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko said police would be given orders to
crack down on all forms of violent protest. Whether they used tear gas,
rubber bullets or handcuffs would be up to them, but the law would be
enforced, he said. President Jacob Zuma echoed the “get tough” message
in remarks to reporters after a meeting with opposition leaders
yesterday. Referring specifically to the assault by soldiers on the
Union Buildings earlier this week, he said: “I don’t think it is
acceptable that security forces, particularly the army, should have
behaved the way they did. Action will be taken on that matter.” In its
statement, the Cabinet said all those involved in “this unruly behaviour
must expect no sympathy from the state”. In the past month, police have
used tear gas and rubber bullets and scores of people have been arrested
after protests turned violent in Khayelitsha and Masiphumelele near Cape
Town, in Rustenburg, in Pietermaritzburg, in Plettenberg Bay and outside
the Union Buildings. Police have also used pepper spray to break up a
demonstration by traditional healers in central Pretoria. Maseko said,
however, that police had not always acted strongly enough. “You should
expect to see a stronger hand on the part of the police to make sure
that people are held to account for breaking the laws of this country,”
he said. He said the warning applied to all kinds of protest, including
so-called service delivery protests, which usually involve
stone-throwing and burning-tyre barricades. “This is applicable to all
types of protest we have seen over the past few months , which is
bordering on hooliganism. It is the nature and form of protest that
government finds unacceptable and strong action is going to be taken,”
he said.

Mantashe, ANC councillors meet to tackle service delivery
ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe. 26 August 2009

ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, will today address hundreds of
ANC councillors in Alberton in Gauteng. The meeting is expected to come
up with concrete programmes to address poor service delivery in the
province. Gauteng ANC spokesperson, Nkenke Kekana, says the ANC
leadership in Gauteng will also engage with the media on burning issues
including the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRT), effects of the economic
meltdown on the province and service delivery.

Earlier on ANC President Jacob Zuma had warned that ministers, premiers
and councillors who do not perform will be removed.

The Provincial Budgets and Expenditure Review presented to the National
Council of Provinces last week outlined that poor budget planning and a
lack of spending capacity continue to slow down service delivery. This
is despite a well functioning intergovernmental fiscal system designed
to ensure the efficient use of resources in delivering public services,
particularly to the poor. Provincial education departments are
underspending by R600 million.

Addo office set alight in protest
Mthetho Ndoni HERALD REPORTER 27 August 2009

A HOUSING protest in Addo turned violent yesterday when about 500
disgruntled residents barricaded roads with burning tyres and set alight
a councillor’s office.

The protests follow several months of tension in the Sundays River
Valley municipal area, which surfaced with the axing of controversial
municipal manager Siphiwo Sohena.

A large number of armed police were deployed to the area and 23 people

Eastern Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Sicelo Gqobana
had to be called from Bhisho to address residents demanding his presence.

Later tensions reached boiling point at the municipal offices in Kirkwood.

There was an exchange of words between ANC Addo councillor Anthony
Dancey and Mayor Siphokazi Matinise at a closed meeting in the presence
of Gqobana.

Dancey stormed out of the meeting but Gqobana later asked him to come
back. He said the community had decided to protest because they were
tired of being told lies over and over by Bhisho and municipal officials.

He said locals were demanding houses. He also believed that Gqobana
should listen to their grievances because “the mayor was not willing to
face angry residents”.

Matinise said residents in Addo’s Valentia area had a reason to protest
because they had been on the housing waiting list for years. “We
understand their frustration, but the blame should be put on the Housing
Department in Bisho.

“We’ve submitted their housing application to the department but we are
waiting for an approval.

When this happened, the municipality would start the house building
programme, she said.

The municipality was opposed to the actions of Nomathamsanqa residents
because housing delivery was in progress in that area, she said.

Gqobana acknowledged the housing and corruption problem faced by the
Sundays River municipality. Addressing the angry crowd in Addo, he said
he would ask the municipality about the delays.

“There is still an investigation into the municipality’s finances.
Therefore we are having a special council meeting to address issues
around delivery.”

Gqobana told the residents to remain calm and that he would return with
a detailed report from the council meeting. He said he would meet the
residents along with provincial Housing MEC Nombulelo Mabandla tomorrow.

BHP protest planned
27 August 2009

Workers at one of the world's largest mining companies, BHP Billiton,
plan to down tools at 6am on Thursday over a salary dispute, the
National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) said.

"Numsa members and workers at BHP Billiton no longer have the luxury of
time to beg the filthy rich BHP Billiton management whilst on daily
basis workers are ultra hungry and super exploited," spokesman Castro
Ngobese said in a statement.

"The only power and tool they can use to get the 8.8 percent wage
increase is to embark on a radical and militant strike action until the
employer concedes to workers demand for a living wage."

Ngobese said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
(CCMA) had awarded the union a certificate to embark on industrial
action on August 14.

After several unsuccessful meetings with the company, the union decided
to embark on a strike at its Meyerton premises on Thursday from 6am to 4pm.

The union said the company only offered a 2 percent increase.

Protesting soldiers begin to disperse
Liezl Thom (Eyewitness News) 27 August 2009

Protesting soldiers are dispersing after running battles with police at
the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Earlier, they set fire to a military police vehicle.

About 2 000 soldiers have been protesting over wage packages.

The soldiers seem to be in no hurry to get into their busses.

Earlier when a police officer accidentally fired off a rubber bullet,
the acrimony between the two security forces flared up again.

Demonstrating soldiers are furious police opened fire on them with stun
grenades and rubber bullets.

Many have threatened to return with their own rifles to retaliate.

Earlier, protesting troops and police officers clashed in the streets of
the capital - several cars were vandalised and a van was set alight.

Twelve soldiers were taken to a military hospital for injuries sustained
during their battle with police.

This comes after the North Gauteng High Court ruled the soldiers’
protest action was illegal.

Protesting soldiers suspended after chaotic protest
Regan Thaw 27 August 2009

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has ordered the
suspension of hundreds of Defence Force members after the soldiers
participated in an illegal march in Pretoria.

Police were forced to disperse protesters with rubber bullets and stun
grenades after the demonstration turned violent.

Sisulu said soldiers who took part in the chaotic march brought the
Defence Force into disrepute.

She described their behaviour as disgraceful and as a blotch on the
character of the SANDF.

Between 1 000 and 1 200 soldiers were suspended with immediate effect.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa added two Defence Force members were also
arrested and have been handed over to military law enforcement officials.

He said SAPS officers had to do their job and act accordingly.

Sisulu said the union SANDU was not recognised by the ministry but added
despite this wage negotiations were conducted last week but these proved
to be fruitless.

Sisulu said her patience was exhausted and decisive action needed to be

COSATU wants peaceful ways to resolve soldiers’ grievances

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with concern the
violence which accompanied the demonstration by members of the SA
National Defence Union and the SA Security Forces Union in Pretoria

While acknowledging that the soldiers’ march was illegal, COSATU
nevertheless believes that the reaction by the police - with stun
grenades and rubber bullets - was reckless and excessive, as has been
the case in a number of recent workers’ protests.

The federation reiterates its call for discussions with the relevant
ministers to find better ways for the police to manage demonstrations,
by working together with the organisers to find peaceful ways to control
marches and rallies.

COSATU also agrees that the soldiers’ unions have genuine grievances
which need to be resolved through negotiation. We therefore renew our
call for the reversal of the ruling by the previous Defence Minister,
Mosiuoa Lekota, which banned SANDF unions from affiliating to
federations like COSATU. Yesterday’s events illustrate why the workers
and employers need the federation’s help to resolve disputes through
negotiation and avoid potentially violent confrontations in the streets.

COSATU is keen to meet the Minister of Defence to discuss how we can
take this matter forward and find a solution as quickly as possible.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Braamfontein, 2017
P.O. Box 1019
Johannesburg, 2000

Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667
Cell: 0828217456

Pretoria post office employees protest in PTA
Sapa 25 August 2009

PRETORIA - Thousands of protesting Pretoria post office employees
gathered outside the City Hall on Tuesday to voice their concerns over
wage discrepancies, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said.

Spokesman Pheane Ramoadi, speaking over the sound of vuvuzelas, said the
unionised workers were unhappy that the situation had not been resolved
over the past six years.

“We are marching to the post office head office over salary imbalances
in the company because the company is paying employees based on their
race. If you're black you get a different salary, if you're coloured you
get a different salary,” he said.

He said the peaceful march had been authorised and police were on the
scene monitoring the situation.

The CWU rejected an attempt by the SA Post Office (Sapo) to end the
labour impasse on Monday.

CWU general secretary Gallant Roberts said at the time that talks
between Sapo and the union ended early on Monday morning.

Sapo placed a proposal, amounting to R120 million, on the table.

This amount would cover salary increases as well as correct the salary
anomalies at the root of the dispute between the company and workers.

Workers downed tools last Thursday, with the union charging that whites
earned more than blacks for doing the same job.

Roberts said reports he received indicated that most of the union’s
14,000 members had joined the strike this week.

Services affected most were mail collection and delivery, and
door-to-door and counter-to-counter parcel delivery.

- Sapa

SARS workers to strike
Sapa 27 August 2009

South African Revenue Service workers plan to strike early in September
after wage talks reached an impasse, the Public Servants' Association
(PSA) said on Thursday.

PSA deputy general manager Manie de Clercq said the union notified SARS
on Thursday of its intention to down tools after the tax collector
refused to budge on a seven percent across the board wage increase.

The PSA is demanding a 12,8 percent pay hike.

"Strike action by SARS employees will dramatically impact on the
effective gathering of income for the state and even international
trade, as customs officers will form an integral part of the imminent
action," De Clercq said in a statement.

"SARS employees have a track record of sustained service delivery under
difficult circumstances and the fact that their employer is offering
only seven percent, which is far less than the 13 percent settlement
reached in the local government sector, has infuriated them," he said.

SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said SARS revised its pay offer to the PSA
and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu),
on Thursday.

He could not elaborate on the new offer.

Within an hour, SARS had received a strike notice from one union, he
said. The second notice followed later.

The unions had until August 31 to confer with their members on the
revised offer.

"We remain committed to re-open discussion... they gave notice to strike
and in the face of labour going on strike it closes the space for
discussion, but we are always willing to talk," he said.

The union wants SARS to increase its "stay and travel allowance" to R260
a day and wants workers exposed to dangerous conditions to be
compensated with a R400 danger allowance.

These workers include those stationed at ports of entry and those in
investigation units.

The PSA lodged a formal dispute on August 5 and a formal conciliation
meeting took place on August 11.

"The prescribed 21 day conciliation period expired on 26 August 2009,
during which time SARS has made no effort to engage labour in an attempt
to resolve the dispute," said De Clercq.

"An overwhelming majority of 84 percent of members subsequently voted in
favour of strike action," he said. - Sapa

Seven arrested in NWest student protest
Sapa 26 August 2009

JOHANNESBURG - Seven students from the Taletso Further Education and
Training College in Mmabatho were arrested during a protest which became
violent on Wednesday, North West police said.

“In the morning about 500 students from the college barricaded a road
and broke windows of the school. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse
them,” said Captain Job Mothibi.

Seven students were arrested and would soon face charges of public
violence and damage to property in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court.

The students were protesting against shortages of teachers at the college.

The situation was back to normal later on Wednesday, said Mothibi.

- Sapa

Lack of power lights way for protest march
Katherine Wilkinson GARDEN ROUTE CORRESPONDENT The Herald 25 August 2009

RESIDENTS of the Hlalani informal settlement outside Knysna marched
through the town on Friday, accompanied by a heavy police presence, to
demand electricity and other basic services.

Hlalani is without water, sewerage and electricity, and some residents
have built shacks on an old landfill.

About 100 marchers danced, sang and blew vuvuzelas and whistles as they
made their way along the N2 highway into the town centre.

March organiser Anele Vani accused Knysna Mayor Eleanore Bouw- Spies of
“running away” because she was not on hand to accept their petition, but
Deputy Mayor Donald Kemoetie said she had been called away to attend to
a sick child.

The petition included a demand for “electricity in Hlalani within three
months when you receive this petition” and “proper toilets”.

The residents gave the mayor 14 days to respond to their demands.

Municipal planning and development director Lauren Waring said the
municipality would know in April next year whether or not they had
received funding from the Department of Minerals and Energy for the
electrification of Hlalani.

She said this had been explained to the residents last week.

Kemoetie also invited Hlalani residents to attend ward meetings and
participate in municipal activities in their constituency.

A fortnight ago, the N2 was closed for two hours after residents in the
Hlalani area hurled rocks and burning objects onto the highway to
highlight their demands.

Police spokesman Captain Bernadine Steyn said one police and five
private vehicles were damaged.

Mashishing burns - residents riot again
Riot Hlatswayo 25 August 2009

RESIDENTS of Mashishing, near Lydenburg, again took to the streets in
protests over service delivery.

They burned several objects that they also used to block the roads.

The whole action allegedly started after an ANC councillor had called a
meeting at Matibidi near Graskop over the weekend.

Word soon spread that embattled executive mayor of Thaba Chweu Clara
Ndlovu would attend the meeting that would be about the selection of
people to represent the community.

Residents allegedly disrupted the meeting and even held a councillor and
officials hostage for more than five hours. They were rescued by the police.

Residents gathered in small groups on street corners on Sunday after the
meeting. But when Sowetan arrived in in the township yesterday
everything seemed normal, with municipal workers seen paving the roads .

Taxis were ferrying commuters until just after 10am when residents,
mostly young boys, started throwing stones at vehicles.

Schools had to be dismissed early because of the rioting.

The driver of a bakkie belonging to the municipality had to abandon it
and run to a police station about 100m away when protesters smashed the
vehicle’s windows .

Several drivers fled in their vehicles when the stone-throwing youths
turned violent.

“People have not obtained what they wanted from the government. They
believe the government is dragging its feet in addressing service
delivery and other problems ,” said Mashishing Activists Forum
spokesperson Samora Molotjwa.

Mashishing has seen protests that lasted more than two months after the
alleged disappearance of R3,2million from the municipality’s main bank

A resident, Jacob Malakane, was shot dead by police during one of the
recent protests in which government offices, vehicles, houses and
clinics were burnt.

The council could not be reached for comment.

Former Mpumalanga mayor in court following protest

The ongoing violent protests over service delivery and other issues in
Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, have a sequel at the local Magistrates Court
today. Among those appearing is former Thaba Chweu Municipality Mayor
Mandla Mabilane. During yesterday’s protests, angry community members
said they wanted the executive mayor of the embattled Thaba Chweu
Municipality, Clara Ndlovu, who is on three months' leave, to resign.

Mashishing Activist Forum spokesperson Samora Mlotjwa said community
members were concerned that the municipality has to pay two salaries -
both for Ndlovu and the acting mayor Joseph Pooe. Several containers
housing public cell phones were burnt down and used to block the access
roads into the Masishing township during yesterday’s violent protests.

Meanwhile in North West, 56 people have been arrested following a
service protest that turned violent at Mosenthal near Rustenburg. It's
reported that over 200 people blocked the local road with burning tyres
and other objects, demanding clean running water and electricity.

Police spokesperson Botshelo Mothutsane says they had to use rubber
bullets to disperse the crowd. Mothutsane says those arrested will face
public violence charges and will appear in court soon. Mothutsane also
confirmed that a 17-year old girl was injured after jumping off a moving
police van and has been taken to hospital.

Taxi operators shun Santaco call for strike
Michael Bleby 25 August 2009

THE South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) may end up striking on
its own next week — at least when it comes to cities outside
Johannesburg — with key taxi operators in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town
ignoring the Pretoria-based organisation’s calls for a national strike.

Enthusiasm for a national strike, called by Santaco last week to protest
against implementation of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system in
Johannesburg, is lacking in the other two cities that are rolling out
similar networks. Rea Vaya starts operations on Sunday.

At the heart of Santaco’s lobbying is an attempt to create a role for
itself in influencing the way contracts, such as ticketing, are doled
out in BRT projects nationwide. The government has said these decisions
fall within a city’s competency, which potentially leaves Santaco with
less influence than before in the brave new world of South African
public transport. Local taxi operators have little sympathy.

“We are not going to heed to the call of Santaco to participate in the
strike,” said Melekile Hani, chairman of the Nelson Mandela Bay Public
Transport Forum, the 10-association body negotiating with Nelson Mandela
Bay metro.

“We are surprised by this call now when the negotiations are going our
way and Santaco wants to jeopardise the process. We cannot at this stage
do that. In this region, we are negotiating in good faith with the

In Cape Town, a spokesman for the Peninsula Taxi Association, which
stands to lose 80% of its inner-city traffic when the Mother City’s
integrated regional transport network is rolled out from May next year,
said it would not strike, even though it is a Santaco affiliate.

“Because we have so much at risk, we are best suited to negotiate the
process. We have been very open with the city, despite the mounting
pressure from the outside industry to halt all talk,” said Ghaalid

But Santaco’s Western Cape chairman Vernon Billet said all members would
“definitely” back the strike.

Santaco is the government- recognised and funded national taxi body, but
the difference between it and local taxi associations lays bare the
fault lines in the industry.

The 10 Port Elizabeth associations broke off their affiliation with
Santaco last month. Hani says his forum members cut ties because they
did not want to take part in a joint national working group set up
between the government and the industry, represented at the top by
Santaco. Ironically, Santaco called next week’s strike because it says
Johannesburg is making decisions that are the responsibility of the
working group.

Separately, Eric Motshwane, a member of the steering committee
negotiating Rea Vaya with Johannesburg, criticised Santaco’s claim last
week that the national government had not shown how it would guarantee
remuneration for taxi operators signing up to Rea Vaya.

“How do they know that? They’re not in the negotiation process. The city
can only disclose that to affected operators. How do they know what the
city’s offering? They’re misleading people,” Motshwane said.

The steering committee will today say it has formally begun negotiations
with the city to form an operating company that will run Rea Vaya.

Cosatu, Sanco condemn taxi strike over BRT system
Patrick Cull POLITICAL EDITOR 24 August 2009

HEAYWEIGHT union federation Cosatu and a host of civic organisations
like Sanco have condemned next week’s planned taxi strike in protest
against the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

Cosatu urged the government “to ensure that all the law enforcement
agencies act swiftly to avoid any lawbreaking activities” ahead of next
Tuesday’s countrywide strike action.

At this stage it seems unlikely that Nelson Mandela Bay taxi groups will
join the strike.

PE and Uitenhage District Taxi Association chairman Melekile Hani said
they had not yet received a letter from the SA National Taxi Council

“Besides that, we can’t be addressed merely by a letter.”

Hani said they were busy implementing their business plan of
transforming the taxi industry with the municipality.

“Our talks with the municipality are on a smooth transition. We fail to
understand why we should embark on a strike ... We are in a business
here and we have to serve our community in the best possible way.”

Metro Public Taxi Forum spokesman Siyanda Mbanjwa echoed Hani, saying
they had not received any letter. “The strike issue won’t be discussed
over a letter. We need to sit down and look at the pros and cons. It’s
going to be business as usual.”

Cosatu has dismissed the actions of taxi associations as being “selfish
and opportunistic”.

This follows a meeting on Saturday with Sanco, the SA Commuters
Organisation, Cosatu-affiliated SA Transport and Allied Workers Union,
National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the Gauteng
Commuters Organisation and the SA Disability Alliance.

The organisations said they supported the implementation of the BRT
system, adding that they represented “the silent voices of the millions
of our people”.

They disagreed with the threats against BRT implementation “as we
understand the importance of the BRT project” and the guarantees given
by the country to 2010 soccer World Cup organisers Fifa.

“We view 2010 as an important marketing opportunity for South Africa
which will attract further investment beyond the Fifa World Cup and
support the legacy of the improvement of public transport infrastructure
beyond 2010.”

The implementation of the BRT system “cannot be separated from the 2010

While the taxi industry had the right to strike, it was regrettable that
“threats relating to disruptions are also employed” while negotiations
on the BRT system were taking place. “We are concerned that every time
there are problems, and there are negotiations going on, the taxi
industry threatens to go on strike without consulting the public.”

“As representatives of users of public transport, we are convinced that
the BRT system is an advanced model of public transport which will
contribute towards bettering the lives of our people. We therefore
support the government’s implementation framework of BRT systems and we
believe that any opposing view is selfish and opportunistic.”

They hoped for an amicable way of averting the strike and “of preventing
any mayhem that may ensue as a result of disruptions”.

Govt warns against soldiers' protest march
Sapa PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA 25 August 2009

A planned soldiers' protest march against salaries and working
conditions is irresponsible and unnecessary, the Defence Ministry said
on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said: "All issues that they are protesting
about are being addressed and about to be finalised at the bargaining

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, said the
South African National Defence Union had abandoned the bargaining
chamber and other formal platforms of the department to hold an
unnecessary protest march.

"It is irresponsible and in breach of national security for any in the
defence family to rally people who are responsible for national security
to an unnecessary protest march on issues that are being addressed by
the minister and other platforms in the Department of Defence," she said
in a statement.

The minister called on the union to return immediately to the bargaining
chamber and finalise all the discussions for the benefit of the soldiers.

"I want to assure the defence force staff that their conditions of
service are a concern.

"We are seized with the matter and I would like to engage each one of
them through the proper management structures to see how we can attend
to these.

"We are considering making a request for a separate dispensation for the
Department of Defence that would allow us to creatively deal with our
own needs and the specificities of our own unique security
requirements," Sisulu said.

Unionised soldiers plan to march to the Union Buildings on Wednesday. --

Strike halts work at Implats mine
James Machara 25 August 2009

The world's number two platinum producer, Impala Platinum, said on
Tuesday a strike by workers had halted its largest operation in South
Africa, and it was unclear how long the industrial action would last.

The strike by 10 000 workers at Impala Platinum (Implats) ignored a
weekend call by the mine workers' union to suspend threatened action.

It could also push up prices of the precious metal used in catalytic
converters to remove pollutants from car exhausts, and in jewellery.
South Africa produces four-fifths of the world's platinum.

Above-inflation pay settlements after strikes in other industries and
sectors in South Africa, and threats of more stoppages, have added to
concerns of inflation pressures, although President Jacob Zuma has said
the union action was nothing more than part of the normal annual pay round.

The strike will affect output from Implats in South Africa, and hurt
investor sentiment in a sector already hard hit by the financial crisis.

Implats said it was unaware of the reason for the strike at its main
Rustenburg mine, which followed an improved pay offer to the National
Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The union said on Sunday it had suspended an indefinite strike on
Implats to consult its members on the new wage offer. So far, the NUM --
South Africa's biggest union -- said the first results of a ballot of
workers showed a split over whether to accept an improved wage offer to
avert a strike.

On Tuesday, the NUM said some members were angry at the delay by Implats
in making its latest pay offer. Some members rejected the pay rise as
not enough.

Implats said the strike was made worse by the fact that no demands had
been made of management by the striking workers, and said the work
stoppage appeared to be related to communication between the union and
its members.

"Implats confirms that there is a work stoppage at the company's
Rustenburg operations. The stoppage involves most underground
employees," the company said in a statement.

Strike hurts output
Implats spokesperson Bob Gilmour said the strike at Rustenburg -- which
produces about one million ounces a year -- had affected production as
well as processing of mined ore.

"It seems the strike is due to a bit of miscommunication between the
union and its members," Gilmour said. "The last we knew was the union
was consulting its members on the latest wage offer, now we have this

Implats' pay offer met two key NUM demands, handing it a one-year wage
agreement with a pay rise of 10% for all workers. But some members now
wanted a 13% increase.

"About 10 000 workers are on strike at the Rustenburg mine and smelter.
They are angry that the company offered a pay increase late in the
negotiations, and some are asking for a 13% wage increase," the NUM's
spokesperson, Lesiba Seshoka, said.

"Even though the NUM had officially suspended the strike pending
consultations over the new pay offer by the company, some workers
decided to go on strike. We shall try to talk to them, and see if they
can agree to go back to work," he said.

The union has about 18 000 members at Implats. Implats said its Marula
and refining operations were running normally. -- Reuters

South Africa Union Suspends Strike At Platinum Mine
by James Macharia (Reuters) 23 August 2009

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 23 (Reuters) - South Africa's miners'
union said on Sunday it had suspended an indefinite
strike set to start on Monday at the world's No. 2
platinum producer, Impala Platinum, after receiving an
improved wage offer.

South Africa produces four fifths of the world's
platinum. A strike at Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J: Quote,
Profile, Research) (Implats) could have pushed up prices
of the precious metal used in catalytic converters to
remove pollutants from car exhausts, and in jewellery.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had said it
would call off the strike if it was given an improved

"It looks like we got what we wanted," said Lesiba
Seshoka, spokesman for the NUM. "We will suspend the
strike tomorrow pending the outcome of consultations
with our members."

Platinum XPT= had firmed to $1,250.00 an ounce from
$1,236.50 an ounce on Friday, partly pushed by concerns
over the impending strike. The white metal had also
risen after the union told Reuters late on Wednesday of
its plans to strike.

The union and Implats hammered out the new deal in talks
that ran from Saturday into the early hours of Sunday

Above-inflation pay settlements after strikes in other
industries and sectors in South Africa, and threats of
more stoppages have added to concerns of inflation
pressures, although President Jacob Zuma has said the
union action was nothing more than part of the normal
pay negotiating process.

A strike could have affected output from Implats mines
in South Africa, and hurt investor sentiment in a sector
already hard hit by the financial crisis. In 2008,
Implats produced about 22 percent of all platinum mined
in South Africa.

Implats spokesman Bob Gilmour said it was prudent for
the union to suspend the strike and recommend the new
offer to its members.

"If you've got to recommend a new offer to members then
a strike has to be suspended," Gilmour said. "A strike
is the last thing we wanted."

Implats and the NUM were trying to agree on a pay
increase, as well as the duration of the new pay deal.

The NUM said Implats' latest offer was for a pay rise of
10 percent for all workers, replacing a previous offer
to pay increases of between 9.5 and 10 percent for
different categories of workers, which the union had

The union also said Implats agreed to its proposal of a
one-year deal rather than it previous two-year deal

Another round of wage talks between the NUM and Anglo
American Plc's (AAL.L: Quote, Profile, Research) unit
Anglo Platinum (AMSJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research), the
world's biggest platinum producer, are due to be held
next week. There has been no specific threat of a strike
from the union there.

Strikes in various sectors have led to pay settlements
of above inflation -- 6.9 percent in June -- and worries
that it could make it harder to lift Africa's biggest
economy out of its first recession in 17 years.

No end in sight to the postal workers strike
JP du Plessis 25 August 2009

Postal services across most of South Africa are at a standstill as a
wage dispute between the South African Post Office and the Communication
Workers’ Union continues.

Postal workers downed tools last week claiming employees were being paid
according to their race.

Thousands of workers gathered at the Pretoria City Hall on Tuesday
calling on the post office to address their complaints that black
employees are paid less than their white colleagues.

The post office tabled a salary adjustment allowance of R120m to pay
increases and to address the differences in salary at the root of the

The CWU said this was not enough and rejected the offer in the early
hours of Monday morning.

Workers will continue with their mass action while wage talks continue.

Traditional healers to stage city protest
Sapa 25 August 2009

Traditional healers will picket outside the Health Department in
Pretoria on Thursday.

Traditional Healers Organisation national co-ordinator Phephsile Maseko
said yesterday that they were concerned about the impact the proposed
National Health Insurance scheme would have on them.

"This day will also be used to showcase the role we play in healing,
mothering, leadership, reconciliation, healing and teaching."

She added that the number of people consuming traditional medicine in
the country had increased to 27 million people.

"We want to remind politicians that traditional medicine remains
relevant before and after elections." - Sapa

Coalition to protest against SABC's cutting local content

Television industry workers will protest this week against the South
African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) planned R500-million cut of
local content budgets, said the Television Industry Emergency Coalition
(TVIEC) on Tuesday.

TVIEC said in a statement it would protest at the SABC's Radio Park on
Thursday to send the message that a country without a platform for its
stories to be told would lose its culture, as well as its power to
educate and entertain.

Those taking part in the protest include the Independent Producers'
Organisation, the South African Screen Federation, the Producers'
Alliance, the Documentary Filmmakers' Association, the Writers' Guild of
South Africa and the Creative Workers' Union, which form TVIEC.

"It is the job of the public broadcaster to promote our culture and our
stories. We need a responsible SABC that will put together a muscular
business plan and streamline its management," TVIEC said.

"We believe that an attempt to turn the SABC around by cutting its key
product, programming, will cause irreparable damage to the independent
production sector and to the SABC's credibility," it said.

TVIEC said writers and actors would take the lead in a visually powerful
guerrilla action to also send "a stark and shocking" message to the SABC
that the industry was becoming increasingly angry.

The organisation said the writers and actors were also increasingly
desperate as thousands of skilled labourers were without work in an
industry crucial to job creation and to the dissemination of South
African culture, debate and identity.

Michael Lee, who has embarked on a hunger strike in protest at the
SABC's slashing of local content, would also join the protest. Lee
entered his 16th day of the strike on Tuesday and other activists were
expected to join him. -- Sapa

Fix the Clairwood mess, say residents
Nompumelelo Magwaza The Mercury 20 August 2009

CLAIRWOOD residents have accused the eThekwini Municipality of
neglecting the Durban suburb, saying they face excessive traffic
congestion and pollution, and fear being forced from their homes by an
expansion of the harbour.

The residents voiced their concerns at a public hearing organised by the
South Durban Community Environment Alliance yesterday.

Speaking for the Clairwood Ratepayers and Residents Association, Rishi
Singh said that the residents demanded the removal of the many transport
companies that operated in the residential area.

He said trucks, recyclers and panel beaters were common in the area.
"This place is dense with pollution that comes from all the illegal
businesses operating here," he said.

Singh said that city manager Michael Sutcliffe had admitted that the
city had "made a mess of Clairwood" at a public hearing held by the
municipality in 2006. "If the city has made a mess, why can't they fix
their mess?" he asked.

Singh also expressed concern about the planned expansion of the harbour,
which could require Clairwood residents to be moved, saying the city had
not discussed the project with them.

By Sne Masuku 21 August 2009

Traders at the Early Morning Market in Warwick Junction have refused to
move to an alternative site.

The traders, who occupied the Early Morning Market for more than 90
years, are refusing to make way for a shopping mall and have threatened
to bring Durban to a standstill next week.

Retrenched Remant Alton bus drivers, who have not been taken on by the
city’s new bus service operator, are expected to join the protest marches.

More than 26 trader organisations have signed on to the city’s
development plans, but organisations representing the market traders
have vowed that they will not move from their historic site in the city

Gaby Bikombo of the World Class Cities for All campaign said they would
meet next Wednesday to discuss a way forward .

Traders walked out of a meeting at the Durban City Hall last week after
city manager Mike Sutcliffe announced a new plan for the mall.

The traders are waiting for a ruling on their court application not to
moved .

Developers cannot resume construction until the ruling is handed down.

Source: Sowetan

Clairwood, Bluff residents march over trucking issue
Arthi Sanpath (Daily News) August 21, 2009 Edition 2

After years of fighting with authorities over the trucking menace in
their south Durban community, Bluff and Clairwood residents today
marched through the streets to voice their frustration and call for action.

Rishi Singh, chairman of the Clairwood Ratepayers' Association, said:
"The Clairwood community is now totally fed up." Between 400 and 500
people, carrying a coffin to symbolise the deadly impact trucking has on
the area, marched to the Metro Police reporting station in Flower Road
to hand over a memorandum.

Community leaders said emotions were running high, and that there had
been talk of some people wanting to take the "law into their own hands"
over the deaths and serious injuries caused by speeding trucks.

The memorandum called on the city to give the communities an answer by
October about what would be done to stop businesses and trucks operating
in their community. Singh said he did not understand how the businesses
were allowed to operate in the area, when Clairwood was still designated
a special residential area.

Accident timeline:

August 04, 2009 Edition 1

# February 2007: Steven Pillay was killed by a speeding truck. He was
driving home and a truck driver crashed into him and sped away.

# December 2007: A horse and trailer crushed a man and drove off at the
intersection of Persadh and Amber roads, Clairwood.

# March 2008: A family of three travelling in a car along Horsham Road
in Clairwood was hit by a truck. All three occupants were seriously
injured. The truck driver allegedly failed to stop at a stop street and
collided with the vehicle.

# August 2008: Elaine Thomas was killed after a speeding truck dragged
her Mazda for nearly a kilometre down Bluff Road. A metal cross can now
be seen at the intersection of Bluff Road and Solomon Mahlangu (Edwin
Swales VC) Drive where the truck hit her car.

# March 2009: Ahmed Osman, 64, who was also a member of the Clairwood
Community Policing Forum for more than 10 years, was gunned down outside
his home. Community members say he was outspoken about getting rid of
trucks in the area and they believe this was the reason why he was killed.

# April 2009: Two truck drivers were injured in a collision at the
intersection of Solomon Mahlangu (Edwin Swales VC) Drive and Titren Road
in Sarnia.

Clairwood Residents plan protest action
Arthi Sanpath 4 August 2009

Once a sprawling township where neighbours talked freely on streets and
enjoyed sitting on large verandahs, Clairwood, according to its elderly
residents, has turned into a ghost town.

Houses are locked up, windows shut firm and plastic sheeting has been
placed over doors and windows.

Unlike other neighbourhoods, children aren't playing cricket in the
narrow streets.

The tarred roads, covered with a fine layer of dust, are deserted.

Described a few years ago as a harmonious and united residential
community, it is being turned rapidly into a bustling industrial area.

Homes, many still standing, made of tin with red polished verandahs, sit
adjacent to busy construction yards.

Dust and other particles fill the air as the trucks roar past, carrying
goods past the houses and heading towards the freeways.

"Our children cannot walk alone to school."

"We cannot sleep at night. The trucks speed by and our homes vibrate -
look at the cracks in the walls."

"This light pole has been knocked down three times and you can't imagine
how the drivers take the turns at these intersections."

These are just some of the comments of Clairwood residents, who unlike
many others, chose to stay in the area despite the problems they have
with the trucks.

Grateful that someone was listening to their plight, they chose to
remain anonymous, fearful of retribution from those they say want to see
their neighbourhood turned into a business area.

Residents were wary, saying they did not want to meet the same fate as
that of outspoken community activist, 64-year-old Ahmed Osman. He was
gunned down outside his home in March.

Residents said he campaigned for the trucks to stop operating in the
area, and because of this, he was "taken out".

One resident, 59-year-old Fathima Cassim, said the situation was so bad
that her children and grandchildren refused to live in the area anymore.

"I was born here and now we are being forced to leave," she said. "There
is too much disturbance," she added, pointing to the plastic sheet
covering her doorway.

Cassim said she had to put up the plastic sheeting to keep out the dust
raised by the trucks from the roads that have recently been resurfaced.
"I saved a child once who was crossing the street when a truck was
speeding by." She asked: "But what if no one had been there?"

Another resident said that during the day it was not as bad as it used
to be because Metro Police kept watch, but at night it was "unbearable".

"Between 2am and 3am we cannot sleep. The truck drivers race past the

Rishi Singh, chairman of the Clairwood Ratepayers' Association, has
repeatedly called for action regarding the many accidents in the area
caused by trucks.

"The Clairwood community is now totally fed up," he said.

Singh said he did not understand how the businesses were allowed to
operate in the area, when Clairwood was still designated a special
residential area.

"And as if to appease residents, the roads were recently tarred, but
there aren't any road markings and that makes it dangerous at the
intersections," he said.

Community leaders said emotions were running high because the community
wanted to take the "law into their own hands", such as barricading the
roads, getting rid of all the illegal truckers and other illegal land users.

The community is planning a protest action this month to voice their

Community lives in fear after killing
Osman vocal on truck volumes

Arthi Sanpath 20 July 2009

The murder of Clairwood activist Ahmed Osman, who was gun-ned down at
his home in March, has raised questions about whether the murder was
linked to his advocacy against high volumes of trucks causing accidents
in the area.

The 64-year-old community leader was gunned down on March 25 while
sitting on the veranda of his home in Cherry Road.

Since his death, a pervading sense of fear has swept through the
community and few residents will speak out openly against the presence
of trucks on their streets.

Clairwood and Bluff residents have long been at odds with truck operators.

At one stage they even threatened to barricade roads after several
deaths and serious injuries in pedestrian or vehicle accidents.

Osman, a member of the Clairwood Ratepayers Association and the South
Durban Community Environmental Alliance, was fiercely vocal against
truck operators.

At the time of his death, police said the motive for Osman's murder was
not clear because nothing had been taken from the house.

Investigating officer Inspector Marius van der Looy, of the Brighton
Beach Police Station, said they were following up on leads, but no
arrests had been made.

"Nothing positive has transpired. We are following up on information we
got from the public," he said.

However, Van der Looy said claims that Osman had been targeted because
he had spoken out about the truck operators were "speculation".

Witnesses told police that a late model Mercedes-Benz had slowed down as
it approached Osman's house.

It was alleged that a man had jumped over the fence of Osman's home and
shot him five times before running back to the waiting car.

Since the attack, residents who previously spoke openly about
eradicating trucks in the community have been silent.

When approached by the Daily News a week ago, residents were wary and
insisted on anonymity, because they believed Osman had been targeted
because of his outspoken views.

They were fearful of retaliatory attacks and did not want to end up dead
like Osman.

However, residents did say that they were "sick and tired" of the trucks
racing through the narrow streets, turning the once peaceful
neighbourhood into an "unliveable" place.

They said they feared for their lives and safety, and that they were
unable to walk freely in the neighbourhood.

Rishi Singh, chairman of the Clairwood Ratepayers Association, said he
had repeatedly called for action to reduce the high accident rate caused
by truck drivers violating traffic rules.

"The Clairwood community is now totally fed up," Singh said.

While the motive for Osman's death had not been established, everyone
knew he had been "vociferous in terms of trucking and illegal
activities" in the area.

Director Vincent Ngubane, head of Metro Police in the Southern Region,
said police were unable to handle the high truck volumes in the area.

"Our infrastructure is such that we are not able to contain the influx
of heavy duty vehicles," Ngubane said.

He said the creation of a satellite Metro Police station in Clairwood
was "helping" but had not had a significant impact.

Between July and December last year, 1 001 truck drivers had been
charged and from January this year up to June, 1 953 truck drivers had
been charged for driving or parking in a residential area.

Metro Police can only conduct enforcement measures and charge the
drivers, but this was not proving effective, he said.

Desmond D'Sa, chairman of the South Durban Community Environmental
Alliance, said Osman had "paid the price" for standing up for the community.

SACTWU ballots clothing workers for national wage strike

Conciliation proceedings to resolve the national wage dispute between
the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) and
clothing industry employers have failed. The union will now commence a
strike ballot for a mandate to embark on national strike action which
could affect up to 60 000 clothing workers.

SACTWU now calls a press conference where further details will be provided.

The press conference will be addressed by the union's General Secretary,
Andre Kriel, and other members of the union leadership and negotiating
team. The press conference will be held as follows:

• Date: Monday 24 August 2009

• Time: 13h00

• Venue: SACTWU Board Room, 3rd floor, Industria House, 350
Victoria Road, Salt River, Cape Town

If further information about the press conference is required, kindly
call Fachmy Abrahams, Coordinator in the Office of the General
Secretary, on 073 3067605.

Issued by Andre Kriel, SACTWU General Secretary, 021 4474570.

Nationwide taxi strike will go ahead

Posted by Lwandi Genu 21 August 2009

A nationwide taxi industry strike will go ahead on Tuesday September 1st
when the Bus Rapid Transit system is implemented. The SA National Taxi
Council says despite negotiations not yet being concluded, the City of
Johannesburg is rigidly committed to putting the BRT on line. National
Transport spokesman Logan Maistry said the government is aware of the
impending strike, but is committed to continuing talks with the taxi
industry over the weekend. The City of Johannesburg announced yesterday
that Rea Vaya will be launched as planned on August 30th. The City says
it will take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of Rea Vaya

Threats of stronger protest action as retailer wage deadlock continues
Imraan Karolia Eyewitness News 22

The South Africa Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU)
confirmed that its wage deadlock with Massmart could result in
intensified strike action by workers.

The union plans to mobilise support and is considering consumer boycotts
while approaching COSATU for solidarity action from its affiliates.

Game and Dion workers have been on strike for five days and on Thursday
the parties discussed picketing rules at the CCMA - following minor
disruptions at some stores.

“The company has not given any willingness to give a revised offer and
one would have thought that yesterday was a perfect opportunity for them
to break the ice, which they never did, and that has mobilised our
members to fight to the bitter end,” said SACCAWU’s Lucas Ramatlhodi.

Now sabotage hits Telkom strike
Independent on Saturday 22 August 2009

Durban residents have been left without phone, fax and Internet lines
after Telkom's phone networks were sabotaged during recent pay strikes.

The strike was resolved last week, with workers accepting a 7.5 percent
general salary increase and a two-year moratorium on forced
retrenchments but for many residents and business owners the effects of
the strike are still being felt.

Mount Edgecombe resident Maureen Forbes said she and other residents had
been without phone lines since last week.

She said after enquiring they were told the lines had been deliberately
vandalised. Some lines were crossed.

Forbes's phone was ringing in somebody else's home and her fax line had
been crossed with a fax line from a business in the nearby business park.

"People are using my ADSL (Internet) and my telephone and Telkom is
doing nothing about it," she said.

Telkom said there were at least 17 acts of sabotage and vandalism with
15 of these in KwaZulu-Natal.

"An investigation is currently under way to determine the cause of the
damage. Early indications are that this may have been the work of
vandals," says Nombulelo Moholi, managing director of Telkom SA.

Telkom spokesman Pynee Chetty said any liability for loss of business
was a matter of their customers' own risk.

It was also inconclusive that it was striking Telkom workers who had
vandalised the network but Chetty said the conclusion of the
investigation would reveal who was responsible.

Telkom urges the public and its staff to remain vigilant and to report
any suspicious behaviour with regard to Telkom's infrastructure to
TARPS's National Security Control Centre at 0800 041

This article was originally published on page 2 of The
Independent on Saturday on August 22, 2009

COSATU Press Statement – End to Metrorail Strike

Cosatu intervention secures an end to strike and restored train services
for Monday.

Cosatu has intervened in the strike and secured the return to work by
striking workers on Monday.

This will contribute to the improvement of train services to commuters
and an end to the turmoil of the last week .

Even though the union involved was not a Cosatu affiliate, Cosatu has
intervened to ensure there return.

For question please call Tony Ehrenreich at 082 77 33 194

UTATU vows to protest until Metrorail gives in
Giovanna Gerbi 19 August 2009

The United Transport and Allied Trade Union is adamant its members will
continue to protest until wage and working conditions are met.

Thousands of Western Cape commuters have been inconvenienced as strike
action entered its second day on Tuesday.

Hundreds of UTATU members have been picketing outside Metrorail officers

The rain, however, has kept demonstrators at bay in Cape Town. The union
says picketing is in full swing in Durban.

UTATU’s Pieter Greyling says workers will not return to their stations
until their working conditions are improved.

“People working in the train operations environment will take home less
salary to the extent of R4000 – R6000 per month," says Greyling.

Meanwhile, it seems some commuters are sympathetic to the drivers’ plight.

One woman who spoke to Eyewitness News was not bothered by the fact that
her train journey was taking longer than usual.

She said she agreed with workers who are demanding better wages.

Metrorail calls for calm on platforms as strike continues
Giovana Gerbi 19 August 2009

Metrorail has appealed to frustrated commuters not to act rashly, as
their safety may be compromised.

Thousands of commuters in the Western Cape have either been stranded or
severely delayed, as the train drivers’ strike continues.

Trains in Gauteng have not been affected as much but commuters have
still reported getting to work and school late.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says more trains were running in the
Western Cape on Tuesday than on Monday.

She has also reminded commuters to be careful.

Workers affiliated to transport union UTATU workers are demanding a
salary increase of 10 percent. They also want Metrorail to improve their
working conditions.

Cop conscious after assault in protest
Natasha Prince & Kowthar Solomons 18 August 2009

The Stellenbosch policeman who was brutally as-saulted during a protest
linked to service delivery in Khayelitsha's Site C has regained
consciousness and is expected to be discharged later today.

The 35-year-old constable, who has not been named and who was off duty
at the time of the attack, was cornered and beaten after the driver of
the car he was in attempted to smash through a barricade erected by
residents across a section of Lansdowne Road on Sunday evening.

The driver, who escaped with minor injuries, has been questioned by the

Stellenbosch police spokeswoman Reneé Matthee said the officer was
expected to make a full recovery.

Khayelitsha police said last night that calm had returned to the area,
but that protests were continuing.

Residents are still demanding that Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato provide
them with proper housing. Plato met community leaders last week and
tried to address their concerns.

Citing the lack of available suitable land, he told representatives that
relocation could not take place until next year.

Angry residents of the BT section on Sunday threw stones at passing
vehicles, dug tren-ches in the road and erected barricades made of rocks
and cardboard.

Five residents were arrested for public violence in the wake of the
weekend's protests and appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court

The first accused, a woman, held a three-month-old baby who was
apparently taken into custody with his mother on Saturday night.
Prosecutor Vu-kile Gontsana asked that Noku-thula Mthabazi be granted
R300 bail, "taking her baby into consideration".

Gontsana asked that the case regarding the remaining co-accused - Xolile
Sisalana, Chumani Mnqunqeni, Mzwanile Dosi and Ntsikelelo Marhwanqana -
be postponed until Thursday for bail information.

The five are accused of throwing stones at passing vehicles, burning
tyres and damaging Lansdowne Road, among other offences, according to

The magistrate agreed to the State's request to keep the four in custody
and released Mthabazi on R300 bail.

None of the accused have been charged with attacking and assaulting the

Protests a waste of money – ANC
Michael Sakuneka (Sowetan) 18 August 2009

THE ANC in ward 7 of the Greater Tzaneen municipality has accused
community leaders at Morwatshehla village of organising costly protests
that create tension among the villagers.

It said community leaders were reportedly using money donated monthly by
MTN to pay transport for “unnecessary protests against poor service

A protest march to the office of premier Cassel Mathale in Polokwane
over poor service delivery will take place today.

Last month, a group of about 100 people marched to the Tzaneen
municipality demanding roads, water and new residential sites.

They decided to march to Polokwane today after the municipality
allegedly failed to respond to their grievances within the stipulated time.

ANC chairperson Noel Makhumbila said the leaders, who are alleged to be
members of Cope , continued to take unilateral decisions that excluded
other villagers and divided the community.

He said the ANC government was working hard to ensure that basic
services were made available.

“We have tried as an organisation to engage the leaders in discussions
about how best the area can be developed but some of them do not want to

Vaal residents in uproar over authorisation of toxic dump
Sarah Hudleston ( The Weekender) 18 August 2009

DESPITE vociferous protest from farmers and environmental groups, the
government has given initial authorisation for the building of a “super
dump” toxic slime dam close to the banks of the Vaal River and adjacent
to a nature conservancy.

Residents in the area say they have not been consulted on the
development that will not only ruin their view over the river and across
the veld, but will create an unhealthy environment for them to live in.

First Uranium subsidiary Mine Waste Solutions , which will build the
mega tailings storage facility, is already clearing the ground and
erecting pipes, says Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for a
Sustainable Environment.

The federation is appealing against the authorisation on the grounds of
failure to supply affected landowners with essential information on time.

Liefferink says work has started on the dump but the company has not
been granted a water-use licence. “They are not permitted to operate
without this.”

According to Liefferink, the proposed super dump will further compromise
the already compromised Vaal barrage catchment area, particularly with
regards to salts from heavy metals, including radioactive uranium .

Liefferink says that a recent report published by the Water Research
Commission has concluded that the four gold mines in the Vaal barrage
catchment area are contributing more than one-third of the total salt
load into the river and only 6% of the flow.

“The pollution is not cleaned up at source, but passed on to other
users. Very often these other users are households, or large numbers of
small enterprises, and effective and equitable compensation is not in place.

“Downstream users would pick up additional costs as they attempt to cope
with water of poor quality ,” says Liefferink .

Despite an imminent directive that will compel mines to clean up their
water before releasing it into the water supply, these costs are still
borne by the economy at large , Liefferink says.

Marius van Gent, who lives across the river on the Free State side, says
a meeting of 90 residents has resolved to fight the establishment of the
dump. “Apart from losing our views — the reason we moved to the area —
we are also worried about the toxic dust that will blow our way,” says
Van Gent .

Gail Strauss of Simmer & Jack , which has a sizeable stake in First
Uranium , says the new dump will be located 2km from the Vaal River.

She says, unlike dumps that were disastrously and historically located
on porous dolomite, the new dump will be located on more impermeable
clay which will make it environmentally safer.

Strauss says that Mine Waste Solutions has taken care to ensure it does
not repeat the environmental mistakes mining companies have made in the

“What is so good about our plan is that all 14 existing dumps will be
reworked, levelled and rehabilitated. All the residue from these dumps
will be taken to the new site for processing,” she says .

But Wilhelm Rocher, chairman of the Transvaal Agricultural Union , North
West Region, has written a letter to agriculture, conservation,
environment and rural development MEC Boitumelo Tshwene , saying his
organisation’s members, all farmers, are strenuously opposed to the
proposed dump and would like to appeal against its authorisation.

Rocher wants to know why the land previously used for tailings cannot be
reused . “We are strongly objecting to this authorisation that allows
Mine Waste Solutions to disturb and pollute another 1400ha when it is
clear that this land would also become useless after the mining has made
money by reworking the tailings from the existing tailings dam,” says

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