||De Beers workers go on strike
NUM 28 May 2010
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has this morning been issued with a certificate of non-resolution to the wage dispute between it and the diamond giant De Beers by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The NUM will this morning issue a 24 hour notice to begin a strike on Sunday at all De Beers operations in the country which includes amongst others Voorspoed, Finsch, Namaqualand and Venetia. The NUM demands a 15% wage increment whilst De Beers offers an 8% wage increment to its employees. Close to three thousand workers will commence on an indefinite industrial action this Sunday to support their demands. “We are not miles but world apart in terms of what the company offers and what we are demanding” says Peter Bailey, the NUM’s
Chief Negotiator at De Beers.
Peter Bailey – (Chief Negotiator)- 082 883 7302
Lesiba Seshoka (NUM Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
ANCYL calls on youth to vandalise Cape Town
Sapa 25 May 2010
We are going to destroy everything and make the city ungovernable
The ANC Youth League has called on the youth to vandalise the City of
Cape Town, in a protest against poor service delivery.
“We are going to destroy everything and make the city ungovernable,”
Loyiso Nkohle, secretary of the ANCYL Dullah Omar region, said on Tuesday.
“We are calling on all youth to do this, especially those living in
Nkohle’s deputy Chumile Sali said the ANCYL was doing this to expose
those parts of the city where the Democratic Alliance had failed to
On Monday, ANCYL members and community leaders led residents in the
destruction of toilet enclosures the city council had erected hours earlier.
They taunted mayor Dan Plato to arrest them.
“The African people’s dignity has been undermined by the DA. It is time
to take action,” said Sali.
Regional treasurer Andile Lili said the ANCYL "did not intend" being
violent, but was being "forced to" by the city.
Plato : Cape Town at crossroads over toilets
Sapa 25 May 2010
The City of Cape Town has reached a "crossroads" over the toilets
destroyed in Khayelitsha this week, mayor Dan Plato said on Tuesday.
"We can no longer continue on this path of confrontation and sabotage,"
he told a city council budget meeting.
"Money that is badly need for service delivery is wasted through damage
for the benefit of certain agendas."
Earlier in the day the ANC youth league, which led the destruction of
the controversial toilet structures on Monday, threatened widespread
vandalism in the city in protest over service delivery.
Plato said that on the one hand the community had repeatedly confirmed
it wanted the city to continue with the provision of the toilets.
"On the other hand they bow to pressure from the ANC youth league and
other disruptive elements to disown the work and vandalise the equipment.
"Mr Speaker we cannot continue in this way. I am therefore asking the
ANC as the governing party to publicly confirm by close of business on
Thursday 27 May that they will constrain their youth league.
"They must prevent the league from intimidating the community and from
organising this resistance and damage to public property paid for with
Plato did not say what would happen if the ANC did not meet the
deadline, but it sounded very much like a threat of a high court injunction.
The controversy is over toilets installed by the city in the Makhaza
area of Khayelitsha.
Residents apparently agreed to build enclosures themselves, but this was
The city put up corrugated iron structures around the toilets on Monday,
but members of the ANCYL and some community members immediately knocked them down, and taunted Plato to arrest them.
The league demanded concrete structures instead.
On Tuesday, the ANCYL's Dullah Omar region called on the youth to
vandalise the city over poor service delivery.
"We are going to destroy everything and make the city ungovernable,"
threatened regional secretary Loyiso Nkohle, one of those responsible
for the destruction of the toilet enclosures.
"We are calling on all youth to do this, especially those living in
Regional treasurer Andile Lili said the ANCYL did not intend being
violent, but was being forced to by the city.
"Anything with the city emblem on it will be destroyed," he said,
adding: "The youth league will be vandalising the city."
The region had written an open letter to Human Settlements Minister
Tokyo Sexwale asking him to intervene in the toilet debacle.
"Our complaint is based on the reality that African people residing in
Makhaza, Khayelitsha, are forced to shit in full view of the public,"
the letter said.
Asked if the league's national office endorsed the Dullah Omar plans,
ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu rejected the report as "lies".
"Do you call yourself a journalist?" he asked a Sapa reporter.
"How can you tell such lies?"
Also on Tuesday, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille described the
destruction of the toilet enclosures as part of an ANC campaign of
violence and intimidation against the DA in the Western Cape.
She would ask for a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to bring the
incidents of intimidation against the DA to his attention, she said at a
press conference in Cape Town.
The DA controls the city, the only metro not in ANC hands.
Etwatwa residents take to the streets
Sapa 25 May 2010
Residents from Etwatwa, east of Johannesburg, were protesting peacefully
against slow service delivery on Tuesday morning, police said.
Constable Timothy Masilela said a group of about 3 s000 people were
marching to the municipality's offices in Etwatwa.
"It's all about service delivery... they say it is very slow," said
"It's a peaceful march," he added.
The protesters were planning to hand over a memorandum of demands to a
municipal manager on Tuesday afternoon. - Sapa
Poor delivery behind Soutpan protests
Sapa 25 May 2010
BLOEMFONTEIN - The ANC-led council of the Masilonyana municipality has a
history of poor service delivery in the Soutpan area and was the cause
of current conflicts, the DA said on Tuesday.
DA MP David Ross said Soutpan and Ikgomotseng were currently part of the
Masilonyana municipality which was recently placed under administration.
"The administrator is struggling to solve the problems regarding service
delivery... this municipality was experiencing budget deficits and a
lack of implementation," he said in a statement.
The situation had reached a critical stage considering the fact that
very few consultations were being undertaken with the residents.
Eighty-three Ikgomotseng and Soutpan residents appeared in the Brandfort
Magistrate's Court on Tuesday after protests in the town over an
apparent failed request for new municipal boundaries.
The residents wanted to fall under the Mangaung Local Municipality in
Bloemfontein, not under the Brandfort administration. They appeared on
charges of public violence and taking part in an illegal gathering.
During Monday's protests tyres were burned, roads blocked with rocks and
passing motorists had stones thrown at them.
The DA said completion of a community hall in Ikgomotseng had been
stopped, although indications were the contractor had been paid.
"Various meetings with the administration have been cancelled, while
administrative errors, such as erroneous bills are not being corrected."
Ross said during a resent visit to the area the DA leant ambulances and
other medical services from the district council had proven ineffective
because of the long distances that needed to be travelled.
Problems with sewage, water and electrical maintenance also needed
Ross said the DA would submit questions in Parliament regarding the
situation in Masilonyana.
Xenophobia after 2010 WC?
African immigrants living in South Africa are increasingly voicing
concern that they could face xenophobic violence after World Cup. Malawi
nationals who frequent the De Deur flea market south of Johannesburg on
weekends say they are psychologically preparing themselves for any
eventuality after the soccer tournament.
The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is also investigating claims to
renewed violence on foreigners.
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (Cormsa), says
there has already been 10 incidents this year and they are expecting
more. While NIA spokesperson Brian Dube acknowledged that here is a
sentiment prevailing the threat could actually be exaggerated.
The situation has been complicated even further with the lack of service
delivery. Yesterday residents of Ramaphosa on the east rand erupted in
violent protest. This is the same neighbourhood that was rocked by
xenophobic violence in May 2008. The residents there say nothing has
52% of metro residents discontented - TNS
Neil Higgs 25 May 2010
Neil Higgs says more violent protest over lack of service delivery a
Service delivery - expect flash-points - a half of SA's metro residents
are not happy with service delivery
In a survey of 2 000 residents of South Africa's metropolitan areas
conducted in February 2010 and released today, TNS Research Surveys
(Pty) Ltd, South Africa's leading marketing and social insights company,
announced that over a half of residents - 52% - are not happy with the
service delivery they receive from their local authority or municipality.
This is a very high figure and one that indicates that violence over a
lack of service delivery is a certainty. Strike negotiators say that,
when 30% or more of a work force are unhappy, there will almost
certainly be strike or protest action. With levels of unhappiness over
service delivery exceeding half the population, the likelihood of such
protest action then becoming violent becomes highly probable.
In a study conducted in 2007, dissatisfaction levels were at an already
high 27%, with Gauteng at 30% reaching the critical level. That the
levels of unhappiness have risen to 52% shows that the problem of
service delivery is now especially acute.
In addition, 51% say that they have been waiting too long for basic
service from their local authority or municipality
President Zuma's pledge
In his State of the nation address this year, the President said -
"The defining feature of this administration would be that it knows
where people live, understands their concerns and respond faster to
This week, President Zuma paid a surprise visit to Sweetwaters informal
settlement, south of Johannesburg. Afterwards, he sharply criticised the
government for failing adequately to address conditions in informal
settlements, describing the conditions there as "shocking. There is no
decent housing, sanitation, electricity, access road or health
facilities - they are living like pigs." He added, "It gets worse, when
you end up with the Treasury telling you the rollovers, the money has
gone back [to the Treasury] - as if we have done everything and there
was change to come home with." He said the government had made "some
progress," which included spending R15-million on housing subsidies and
providing 220000 housing opportunities in the last financial year. He
also said a guarantee fund of R1-billion had been established to provide
600000 housing units for those who do not qualify for bank credit or a
subsidy. The President emphasised that housing was a major problem - the
housing backlog currently stands at about 2.1million with the number of
informal settlements growing to more than 2700. This compares favourably
with the 2.4-million backlog announced during the 2006 Budget Speech,
but is still above the 1996 level of 2 million.
"In three years' time, we will finish 20 years of freedom. We are likely
to find it very difficult to explain why there are still people living
in Sweetwaters like they do," said Zuma. "We must change the manner in
which we do things." (TimesLive.co.za, 19 May 2010).
Why this is so important (1) - human dignity and basic human rights
That people "live like pigs" is, in itself, a terrible admission 16
years into our new democracy. With local government elections due next
year, service delivery, or the lack of it, will be a key election issue,
especially in view of the President's pledge. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"...too many people are living in grueling, demeaning, dehumanising
poverty...South Africans are sitting on a powder keg - we really must
work like mad to eradicate poverty."
TNS said that the results show quite strong differences by area:
%sUnhappy with service delivery
%sBeen waiting too long for basic services
Johannesburg and environs
Johannesburg excl Soweto
Vaal Triangle/South Rand
From this, it is clear that all areas are well above the critical level
of 30% unhappiness, with very serious flash-points likely in the East
and West Rand and the Vaal Triangle/South Rand in Gauteng, and in East
London. However, TNS warned that no areas are immune as dissatisfaction
is high everywhere.
Other aspects of the findings
Not surprisingly, blacks, in particular, were the most unhappy with
service delivery levels (54% unhappy, 58% say they have been waiting too
long for basic services). But this does mean that the ANC's main
constituency is the most unhappy. Amongst the unemployed, 59% are
unhappy about service delivery. Amongst those in squatter camps and
informal settlements, the unhappiness level rises to 65%. Also, not
surprisingly, it is the poorest of the poor who are the most unhappy,
with as many as 80% of these people expressing unhappiness - a powder
But even the most wealthy are also unhappy (49% - this is most likely
due to the ongoing power outages, water problems and billing problems at
the very least).
Why this is so important (1) - the link to the xenophobia powder keg
Xenophobia is not primarily about hatred towards foreigners. Ultimately,
it is also about competition for scarce resources - houses, water and
electricity, jobs (and even women). Hence, poor service delivery is a
large component of what drives xenophobia, not helped by the fact that
foreigners will accept (are exploited by) lower wages in their
desperation - and are powerless to complain to authorities as many of
them are here illegally.
In a metropolitan study conducted in 2008, just after the outburst of
xenophobic violence, TNS Research Surveys asked people to agree or
disagree with the statement "Government leadership has been good in
dealing with the violence towards foreigners". Whilst 38% of metro
adults agreed with this statement, almost half (47%) disagreed and 15%
said "don't know".
In addition, 70% of people surveyed wanted illegal refuges living in
South Africa returned to their countries of origin.
It is clear that there is extreme dissatisfaction with service delivery
from local authorities in metro areas. Protests can be expected almost
anywhere, feelings are so strong. That this will spill over into
violence in many instances should not be a surprise.
Service delivery is a key issue for all communities . This puts
Government under considerable pressure to address service delivery
issues. It is clear that people can be expected to become restive if the
process is not speeded up.
Given that people are also sensitive to the influx of illegal immigrants
and that their perceptions of the handling of the xenophobia problem in
2008 are not very positive, it is also abundantly clear that the current
lack of service delivery, where it turns into violent protests, is
highly likely to become a backlash against foreigners living here.
Government needs a plan to address both the issue of service delivery
and the concomitant violence, especially against foreigners, as we are,
indeed, sitting on a powder keg.
The studies were conducted amongst a sample of 2 000 adults (1260
blacks, 385 whites, 240 coloureds and 115 Indians/Asians) in the seven
major metropolitan areas: they have a margin of error of under 2.5% for
the results found for the total sample. The studies were conducted by
TNS Research Surveys (Pty) Ltd as part of their ongoing research into
current social and political issues and were funded by TNS Research
Statement issued by Neil Higgs, TNS Research Surveys Director, May 25 201
Satawu Press Release 24th May 2010 : Transnet wage dispute
Satawu members at Transnet continued the strike today, thwarting
management’s expectations that the strike would collapse after Utatu
settled on 11%. Our members have remained resolute despite endless
telephone harassment by managers trying to persuade them to return to
work. There have also been threats of the illegal withholding of payment
of wages for days that were in fact worked before the strike.
Satawu has stepped up the pressure by calling for support from the
International Transport Workers’ Federation, a worldwide federation of
751 transport trade unions representing over 4,600,000 transport workers
in 154 countries.
In addition secondary strike notices have today been issued to the
following port related companies :- Richards Bay Coal Terminal,
Safmarine, AP Moller Maersk, Bidfreight Port Operations, Grindrod,
Hazard Marine, Hermes Ship Chandlers, National Ship Chandlers, South
African and Container Depots. Notices have also been issued on the
former Transnet company Arrivia.kom as well as the motor ferry companies
Motorvia and Auto Carriers. Should the strike not be resolved by June
1st sympathy strike action will be legal in these companies. After
further consultation with members it is the intention also to issue
secondary strike notices on the Road Freight Association, whose members
are road hauliers, as well as on aviation companies including SAA.
Satawu believes that Transnet is holding the country to ransom with its
intransigence. In the whole of the course of the two week strike, they
have to date not shifted their stance on the basic wage. In rejecting
the 11% so called settlement offer of last week our members have
indicated very clearly that they will not return to work until they see
such a shift.
It is within Transnet’s power to bring the strike to an end by climbing
out of their rigidity.
For more information contact Zenzo Mahlangu, general secretary on 072
7347825 or Jane Barrett on 082 8278561
Losses climb as strike enters third week
By Agnieszka Flak The Mercury 24 May 2010
Members of the biggest trade union at South African logistics group
Transnet ended a strike on Monday, but the stoppage hitting ports and
railways dragged on after a smaller union rejected a revised pay deal.
The strike, now in its third week, has held up exports of metals, cars,
fruit and wine to Europe and Asia, as well as imports of vehicle parts
and fuel supplies three weeks before the Fifa World Cup starts.
South Africa hosts the World Cup in June and July, and soccer's world
governing body Fifa said imports of some equipment for the event had
Jobs in agriculture were under threat, Minister of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Forestry Tina Joemat-Pettersson told reporters.
"We are estimating a loss of over one billion rand for the agriculture,
forestry and fisheries sector," she said.
So far, coal exports to power plants in Europe and Asia have continued
thanks to stocks at the ports, and fuel supplies to petrol pumps are
also as yet unaffected.
Strikers themselves are feeling the strain of lost wages.
"Our members have returned to work," said George Strauss, President of
the United Transport and Allied Trade Union.
The smaller South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu),
said its members remained fully behind the action.
"The strike is still on, none of our workers are back to work," said
Zenzo Mahlangu, General Secretary at Satawu, which represents 39 percent
of the 54 000 workers at Transnet.
The union said it would not budge unless Transnet raises its pay rise
offer above the 11 percent put on the table last week.
"Our members have indicated very clearly that they will not return to
work until they see such a shift," it said.
The union said it had issued notices for sympathy strikes at other port
related companies which could start as of June 1 should the dispute with
Transnet not be resolved by then. - Reuters
Zuma's message of hope to Balfour residents
Sapa 22 May 2010
President Jacob Zuma assured angry Balfour residents on Saturday that
the government had not forgotten about them.
He addressed a crowd at Mpumalanga's Siyathemba Stadium and stressed
that government was working tirelessly to resolve service delivery
problems in the area.
"We must not be agitated. We must leave the matter to government," he said.
Zuma said he listened to residents complaints during his first visit and
had consulted with Mpumalanga ministers and local government on the matter.
He said he had instructed them to visit the Balfour area and ascertain
the extent of the problems.
"You said they came, promised, left and never came back. I came again to
see if any progress has been made."
Zuma made an unannounced visit to Balfour after being sworn in as
president last year. Violent protests had engulfed the area at the time
and Zuma announced measures to address the community's demands, and
promised to visit again.
This time, Zuma said government was considering integrating Balfour into
the province of Gauteng.
A progress report - with promises of a new clinic, water facilities and
street lights - was delivered to the residents.
The angry and frustrated crowd, however, heckled at Zuma's address,
prompting him to appeal for calm.
Other dignataries present were Home Affairs minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, Social Development minister Edna Molewa,and provincial
MECs. - Sapa
Ramaphosa Informal Settlement Burning This Morning
NewsTime 24 May 2010
Ramaphosa informal settlement in the East Rand was burning this morning
as residents took to the streets in a service delivery protest.
Burning tyres blockaded the settlements main thoroughfare as residents
protested for houses, sanitation and improved amenities. The protest
came after a meeting apparently held yesterday by residents where it was
allegedly agreed that there would be a stay-away.
Residents told media that access out of the settlements was blocked as
residents sought to enforce the stay away.
Squatters protest outside CPT Civic Centre
Aletta Gardner Eyewitness News 24 May 2010
Angry residents from informal settlements have gathered outside the Cape
Town Civic Centre.
The smaller than expected group is protesting about the lack of
investment in their areas, as well as poor housing conditions.
Led by the Hillview Residents Association, the group has called for
Mayor Dan Plato to meet them.
The residents say they discovered the city receives R150 millionn from
the national government to upgrade their areas.
The council has denied receiving the cash and is investigating what
happened to the money.
The group says it wants answers and will hand over a list of demands
later on during the day.
(Edited by Danya Philander)
Farmers protest against GM maize
BOBBY JORDAN Sunday Times 24 May 2010
A small patch of genetically modified mielies has sparked protests near
the Western Cape town of Lutzville and police were called in yesterday
to protect the precious crop.
About 60 residents sang and handed out pamphlets outside an experimental
farm at which the Agricultural Research Council is growing 5ha of
drought-resistant, genetically modified maize.
The protest coincided with an inspection of the genetically modified crop.
The maize seed was supplied by multinational biotech company Monsanto,
which has applied for licences to grow several genetically modified
crops in South Africa, despite opposition by activists.
The Times has confirmed that similar test sowings of genetically
modified crops have taken place in other arid parts of the country.
Though Monsanto says its new maize will produce better yields for the
drought-afflicted continent, critics say there might have long-term
side-effects and that non-genetically modified agriculture might be
Yesterday's protest was the first at which a rural community has added
its voice to the debate. Residents' concerns were mainly about land.
Lutzville community leader Davine Witbooi said: "We are small farmers
around here and when we applied for land we couldn't get any - the
municipality gave us only a small piece of commonage. But they could
have given that land to us so that we could expand our farming.
"We were not made aware about what [genetically modified crops] are,"
She said scientists were still ignoring them: "They didn't want to
communicate with us. . or explain anything to us."
The department of agriculture confirmed that Monsanto had applied for
permission to continue field trials of its maize at seven sites across
the country, including in Western Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo
and North West.
The department said: " These [genetically modified] crops are therefore
still in the experimental phase and are not commercially available."
Details of the maize experiments were published by Monsanto earlier this
The company said "any remaining plant material will be destroyed in
compliance with regulatory conditions" and any "volunteer plants" that
germinate after that will be destroyed.
Last week, Monsanto spokesman Andrew Bennett said early results show
that the modified maize could "produce the same kind of yield with less
water", which would help drought-stricken Africa.
But African Centre for Biosafety founder and director Mariam Mayet said
yesterday's protest showed what farmers really felt about genetically
The townships are burning – and foreigners may be next. Again.
Alex Eliseev 18 May 2010
On Monday the petrol bombs came out in Olievenhoutbosch, a settlement
right in the heart of Gauteng. It was just wanton destruction, but the
talk is of targeting foreigners, and soon. If security forces don't
start taking that talk seriously, we face a repeat of 2008. Alex Eliseev
When South Africa sobered up from the xenophobic mayhem of May 2008, we
all thought we had learnt some lessons about humanity.
Dragging elderly Mozambicans from mining hostels and smashing their
heads in with steel pipes, or torching them in front of a frenzied
crowd, soaked our rainbow flag in blood and shamed us before the world.
But as the struggle for resources intensifies, and anger grows over the
most basic of service delivery, it appears a different lesson lingers.
Listen to the words of an Olievenhoutbosch resident, speaking about his
fear that a housing riot that erupted there on Monday is headed for
“Later, they (the protesters) are going to start in the houses, they’re
going to take them out…”
“Take who out?”
“They’re gonna chase the people from other countries out… like
Zimbabweans, Nigerians, those who are living here… those who have shops
here, they’re gonna break them down and take everything inside, because
they belong to them… They say if maybe they start that fighting of
xenophobia, killing the foreigners and stuff, the government will listen
to them, to what they say.
“Zuma just said they should stop everything and wait until the World Cup
is over and then he will help them. But they refuse to listen to the
The equation is strikingly simple: we want what they have. We are
willing to kill to get noticed. And we can use the World Cup as leverage.
Whether these threats – delivered on the second anniversary of the
xenophobic attacks – are real or not is irrelevant. What they show is a
terrifying glimpse into the minds of those who throw the rocks and shout
down the tank-like Nyalas. Those who draw strength from being an
invisible face in a crowd.
The riot in Olievenhoutbosch, near Midrand, was organised on Monday
without the knowledge of many community leaders. It began in the dark
hours of the morning and, before the sun was up, the protesters were at
war with the police.
Taxi ranks were paralysed, workers returned home, children couldn’t go
to school and instead took part in the fighting. By mid day, officers
were destroying failed paraffin bombs or hiding them in their armoured
vehicles. Kids hid behind homemade shields and fired their catties.
Police arrested 21 people. Paramedics rushed around treating the
wounded. And the battles continued throughout the day.
Being there, one couldn’t help feel that the housing demands were giving
way to some kind of primal thirst to destroy. Shops were set alight. A
journalist’s car had a window smashed. Streets were blocked with rocks
and hawker cages. There were no negotiations and the violence ended
slowly, once a stalemate was reached.
Make no mistake, the issues are real and the demands are legitimate. It
cannot be that this far down the road people are still living like this.
Jacob Zuma said so himself while – on the same day as the protest – he
visited the Sweetwaters township and met with its residents.
But the problem is that protests like these have become so frequent that
those organising them have realised that it’s no longer enough to burn
tyres and hurl rocks. They realise they have to up their game.
Last month, the government reported that more service delivery protests
have taken place in the first three months of this year than in any
equivalent period since 1994. Deputy minister of co-operative governance
and traditional affairs, Yunus Carrim, warned that the riots are growing
We can throw many factors into this fiery cauldron – a third force,
political motives fuelling the protests, anger at municipalities and
untrained riot police. In the end, though, we have to face reality.
People are angry, violent protests are increasing and there is dangerous
talk of turning on foreigners. Again.
In 2008, police were caught off guard when attacks first broke out in
the streets of Alexandra. Now, with the World Cup three weeks away, they
cannot afford to make the same mistake.
And we cannot afford to ignore the voices in the streets.
By Alex Eliseev
(Eliseev is an EWN reporter. Your can follow him on Twitter as @alexeliseev)
Photos of Olievenhoutbosch raid: The Daily Maverick
ARCHIVE OF PROTEST NEWS
Wentworth on the warpath
Oliver Meth and Orlean Naidoo The Mercury 21 May 2010
In a frenzy stirred up by broken promises and insensitivity by the
eThekwini municipality, enraged flat tenants of Wentworth have declared
war on city authorities.
More than 1 000 tenants of council‑owned flats in Wentworth are
threatening protest against the council for the lack of service delivery
in providing housing to the overcrowded families and upgrading of
dilapidated council housing in the area.
The last upgrading and redevelopment in the Wentworth community took
place in 1988 by the then apartheid government.
Since then the community has had no development until recently when the
council poorly constructed 128 units for the Lansdowne Housing Project.
One hundred and ten units were allocated to the Barracks, eight to The
Ark and 10 to unidentified people supposedly on the "waiting list",
compiled by the local ANC ward a few months before the completion of the
The reporting of the illegal demolition of the Barracks community,
situated on the fenceline of the Engen refinery in Tara Road, has been
exceptionally, and viciously, reactionary. These accusations are full of
talk of "enraged mobs" and no journalists are putting the real anger
that does exist into any context.
Moreover, the vicious repression being faced by the residents and their
supporters at the hands of Engen, council housing head Nigel Gumede,
city manager Michael Sutcliffe and the ANC, who are quite openly working
together against the community, is not being reported, let alone
But the backlash is growing just as quickly. Legitimate actions are
increasingly being represented as criminal. Activists are being threatened.
Significantly, the Barracks have the support of residents in three other
Durban suburbs ‑ Chatsworth, Merebank and Isipingo where similar
problems are being experienced.
The Chatsworth community's justice struggles are decades old, but they
have made great strides of combat with the municipality over water,
electricity, housing and other grievances. There are lessons and tactics
to learn from.
In 2005 development was muted for Wentworth due to corrupt Housing
Department officials who would have continued with their poor and shoddy
work, while "filling their pockets with development money as they had
done in the Woodville Road project".
This resulted in the prosecution of former director‑general Barlow
Govender for housing fraud. The council had spent R7 million on a
corrupt deal for the project.
According to the Wentworth Development Forum (WDF) chairman, Desmond
D'Sa: "The government tried to force the local community to accept the
contractors and consultants. This was not acceptable to the community."
D'Sa further explains how they challenged the KZN provincial Housing
Department to upgrade the flats.
"We finally agreed on how the improvement will commence with scoping
documents completed in Ogle and Reiger Road by a team of officials
working with us (WDF)".
To date, the Wentworth community is still waiting. The majority of the
flats have roof and pipe leaks, paint falling apart all as a result of
lack of upgrading despite maintenance being a component of rentals paid
Residents including pensioners have been paying high electricity bills
and this will continue with Eskom's inflated prices.
The Department of Housing owns and administers approximately 210
different types of residential properties in Wentworth, which
accommodate in excess of 4 620 families. These properties were built in
the early 1960s. Most of these properties are not in structurally sound
conditions and are not in an acceptable habitable state.
Last February 24, Mike Mabuyakhulu clearly stated in his address to the
Wentworth community at the Highbury Sports Grounds that "a house should
be a place of refuge, not a lion's den". He promised R57m towards the
redevelopment of the flats. Such a promise was never kept.
In a door‑to‑door survey conducted by the WDF, results show that rentals
paid towards the flats are extremely high and inconsistent as some
pensioners are paying more than working people and widows paying more
than families with both working husband and wife.
Many residents have not been authorised by the provincial government as
legitimate tenants in the flats despite them qualifying for
authorisation. Despite promises made by government structures ‑
especially during elections ‑ to transfer the flats to occupants for
ownership purposes, occupants to date remain tenants.
In the blocks and units themselves, there were a lot of defects, cracked
walls and columns, leaking roofs and windows, defective or missing
gutters, clogged sewerage systems and leaking sewerage system leading to
staining of the walls.
In the precincts, there were broken garbage collection points (leading
to litter spilling over), unstable retaining walls, broken storm water
or even non‑existent storm water disposal systems.
There is an average of 80 percent overcrowding problem where a
two‑bedroom house has 14 members. This is an extreme case but
nevertheless it demonstrates the extent of the problem.
Wentworth faces struggles on multiple levels because of the refinery and
lack of political will that is the focal point of the political economy.
Wentworth is not limited to the issues of basic services but is a
community that encompasses the rot in the minerals energy complex ‑ and
because of this, the residents are in the heart of it all.
The eThekwini council needs to engage with communities, look into the
social and economic backgrounds and deal with them properly or they
could experience more "problematic communities" to deal with.
In Durban, alone, resistance to market fundamentalism is growing
rapidly. Unrefined relations are forming between communities facing
evictions and water and electricity disconnections.
This is a time when communities should express their anger and use the
Fifa 2010 World Cup as a platform to push the idea that if we can host
the World Cup and build some of the best stadiums in the world, then all
other delivery should also be accomplished in nine months. Meth is a
resident of Wentworth, DUT BTech Journalism student and a community
research scholar at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society. Naidoo is a
community leader in Chatsworth and a community research scholar at UKZN CCS.
Several arrested during renewed unrest in Mpumalanga
21 May 2010
Another truck has been set alight and several protesters arrested during
renewed unrest in the Mpumalanga township of Leandra. This brings to
four the number of trucks torched since Saturday.
Police spokesperson Thabo Lekete says the driver of the truck escaped
unharmed. Residents of Leandra have been protesting over poor service
delivery. Lekete says the situation is now calm.
"A case of malicious damage to property has been opened. Four suspects
have been arrested and the police are also investigating whether the
suspects are also linked to damaging property. The situation however
remains calm," says Lekete.
Earlier this week, nine people were arrested during violent service
delivery protests in the same area. Police spokesperson Leornard Hlathi
said two of the suspects were found in possession of petrol bombs.
Residents went on a rampage burning three trucks and stoning over 10
cars. The residents are demanding tarred roads, clinics, street lights
and houses. Residents have also indicated that they want all their
councillors to resign and that Leandra be incorportated into Gauteng.
Last month security at the township had to be beefed up after residents
threatened to make the area ungovernable.
Years into democracy and Leandre still has very little to show. Many
buildings in the area remain idle while others have been vandalised.
Residents blame the municipality of corruption.
Newsletter 72‑ Disagreement with the Performance Agreement ‑21 May 2010
This website has been produced with the financial assistance of the
European Union. The contents of this document are the sole
responsibility of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty and the
South African Institute of Race Relations and can under no circumstances
be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
On 29 April 2010, cabinet ministers signed performance agreements with
president Jacob Zuma. These performance agreements have a direct bearing on municipalities, particularly the agreement signed by the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Mr Sicelo Shiceka.
The performance agreement initiative follows growing community
dissatisfaction with Government’s service delivery programmes. This has
seen much protest action in response to the perception that
municipalities do not deliver services satisfactorily. In 2009 there
were approximately 105 protest action sites countrywide and by the first
quarter of 2010 there had been approximately 54.
In signing his performance agreement Mr Shiceka committed himself to
achieving a number of targets by 2014, these targets include:
· The delivery of basic services which include water, sanitation,
electricity and waste management;
· The creation of 4, 5 million job opportunities by 2014 through
the Community Works Programme;
· The transformation of administrative and financial systems of
local government, which includes Supply Chain Management;
· The filling of six critical senior municipal posts, namely
Municipal Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Town Clerk, Town Engineer,
Human Resources Manager and the Communications manager as the basic
minimum for every municipality;
· That all municipalities in the country achieve clean audits by
· The building of municipal capacity to enable municipalities to
collect 90% of their revenues.
This initiative raises a number of points:
· It is worrying that the president has to intervene in order to
ensure that such basic ministerial objectives are met;
· The performance agreement is vague in parts with limited
quantitative targets; and
· The performance agreement time‑line ends in 2014. This is the
last administrative year for the current Government.
The minister also faces significant demands. One example is that in 2007
more than half the residents in some municipalities still did not have
access to piped water and sanitation. In the OR Tambo district
municipality (Eastern Cape) and the Sisonke district municipality
(KwaZulu‑Natal) 64.4% and 52.7% of residents respectively did not have
access to piped water. In the OR Tambo district municipality and the
Umkhanyakude district municipality (KwaZulu‑Natal) 41.2% and 33.3% of
residents respectively had no toilet facility or were using the bucket
Also consider that in 2007, South Africa had an unemployment rate of
22.4%. In the same year, the unemployment rate in some municipalities
was as high as 66.1% and 33.3% in the Metsweding district municipality
(Gauteng) and the Motheo district municipality (Free State) respectively.
Government has devised numerous plans and programmes to combat service delivery backlogs. This performance agreement can beseen as an emergency intervention to try to ensure that the objectives of these plans are met. The signing of this agreement also comes amidst much public pressure on the Government to deliver a high standard of services to citizens. It remains to be seen whether this agreement will be able to adequately address the scope of challenges faced by local government.
SAMWU hopeful National Negotiations will be concluded before World Cup
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 20th May 2010
SAMWU the largest Local Government Union was part of a historic National Wage Negotiation, which had taken place on the 20th of May 2010 for the water board sector, which employs 6000 workers.
We were calling for an 18% salary increase for these workers, which we later revised during negotiations to a humble 15%. The Employer, South African Association of Water Utilities representing 15 water boards opened with 7% and revised to an unacceptably low 8%.
Negotiations will resume on the 3rd June. SAMWU is hopeful that negotiations will be concluded prior to the opening of the 2010 World Cup, so that we can ensure adequate water supply, throughout the 2010 World Cup.
For further comment contact SAMWU’s National Bargaining Officer Dale Forbes on 084 299 6567.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
Office: 011-331 0333.
21 arrested for violence during protest in Olievenhoutbosch
Alex Eliseev 19 May 2010
Police arrested 21 people on Monday for taking part in violent protests
that engulfed the Olievenhoutbosch township.
Protesters took to the streets before sunrise and clashed with officers
for most of the day.
It is understood the protest was organised over service delivery but
there were fears xenophobic violence could follow.
Police said the situation at the township was finally quiet and the
protesters were pushed back.
Officers spent most of the day shooting rubber bullets at residents who
hurled rocks, bottles and petrol bombs as they vented their anger over a
lack of housing.
Protesters burned tyres and shops as running battles continued.
There is no indication yet of how many people were injured during the
clashes but there were fears that the violence could escalate once the
347 towns to protest against crime
Sapa 16 May 2010
Three-hundred-and-fourty-seven towns will take part in a national
protest against crime on Wednesday, the Solidarity Movement said.
In a statement, the movement—made up by Solidarity, AfriForum and
Helping Hand—claimed this would be the largest crime protest yet in the
“Three hundred and seven towns are finalising the last arrangements for
the largest protest action against crime ever in South Africa.”
Memorandums would be handed over to the South African Police Service
(SAPS) in both small towns and cities, from the Western Cape to the north.
In rural areas, several businesses would close their doors and various
schools would take part in some of the marches or learners would wear
red, Dirk Hermann, deputy general of Solidarity said.
“It is expected that thousands of South Africans across South Africa
will wear red on the day.”
Hermann added that the country should never allow crime to become a
normal part of society.
“In order to demonstrate that it is abnormal, we need to protest.
“However, we won’t just protest ... we also want to use the action to
call on communities to get involved in community safety initiatives in
conjunction with the SAPS.”
Hermann believed SA would be “a safer place” after May 19 if the protest
He added that in several towns victims of crime would hand over the
“In Louis Trichardt, the memorandum will be handed over by André and
Petro van den Bergh, who were shot during a robbery in their house while
they were sleeping, and in Midvaal the memorandum will be handed over by
Charl van der Westhuizen, whose uncle and aunt were brutally murdered,”
“At the Utrecht police station, a memorandum will be handed over by
Hilda Els and her son ... Hilda’s husband was followed, hijacked and
Transnet dispute latest
SATAWU 19 May 2010
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has stepped in to try to resolve the dispute between Transnet and the transport unions.
Tomorrow, Thursday the CCMA will be hosting bilateral meetings with the employer, Transnet, and with the unions, COSATU and UTATU. Then they will be meeting with both parties on Friday, 14 May 2010.
For further information, please phone Jane Barrett, SATAWU Policy Research Officer, on 082 827 8561.
Striking Transnet workers turn to Parliament
Mail & Guardian 18 May 2010
Striking Transnet workers were set to appeal to Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele on Tuesday as wage talks reached a dead-end.
The United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) and South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) were planning to march to Parliament to hand over a memorandum to Ndebele.
"The strike is continuing. Indication we got from [Transnet] management is that we shouldn't try to talk to them. We should only call when we are prepared to accept their offer," said Utatu general secretary Chris de Vos.
Satawu deputy president Robert Mashego earlier said he believed there was a need for political intervention to end the strike.
Transnet had made an 11% wage offer while the unions had dropped their demand to 12% in failed weekend wage talks.
But their main gripe with the employer seemed to stem from salary talks last year, when the unions accepted a 7% offer, only to discover later that Transnet management had received 14% increases.
"How can they justify paying themselves such high salaries when the average workers only earn a fraction of their bonuses? It doesn't make sense to us," said Federation of Unions of South Africa general secretary Dennis George on Monday.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions warned that it would not hesitate to mobilise its two million members to launch solidarity action if Transnet did not come up with "genuinely improved offers", spokesperson Patrick Craven said.
Several companies and organisations had expressed concern over the effects of the strike that started last Monday and affected freight rail, rail engineering, ports, port terminals and pipeline services.
Transnet spokesperson John Dludlu said strikers had caused about R30-million in damages to Transnet equipment. -- Sapa
COSATU condemns Metrorail for not making alternative arrangement for commuters during strike action.
COSATU W Cape Press Statement 18 May 2010
The government has a responsibility to arrange public transport for commuters in the W Cape. The fact that they use Metro rail to provide these servieces is a choice that they make, and so thay have to make sure that Metro Rail handles the wage and service level provisions adequatly, so services are not compromised.
The contingency plans of the Government has not been effective, with long ques of workers spending the morning in taxi and bus quees. The vast majority of people in the ques are workers , most of whom belong to COSATU, but the Provicial Government refuses to negotiate with COSATU. This act by the DA of excluding COSATU from the contingency plans is just the kind of political shortsightedness of the DA. COSATU continues to call for a forum wherein all of the role players can be included so we can find a comprehensive solution.
We condemn Metro Rail for mismanaging the rail service and call for good faith negotiations to resolve the dispute , we continue to support the workers for there just demands. If the various groups of comuteers were stagered in the times they are transported, the load would be manageble . This means that manufacturing workers can travel from early till 07:30 and white collar service sector workers thereafter, whilst school learners can travel from 08:00 to 09:00 as well as on the return home. This is the basis of a more sustainable plan that should even extend beyond the strike, but whether the Provincial Government has the vision and the foresight for this, is the question.
We will continue to apologise for the inconvenience caused for comuters during the strike, as we support the fundemental right of workers to strike and use our best efforts to contribute to a solution of the strike.
For question please call Tony at 082 77 33 194
COSATU 100% behind rail strikers
COSATU 18 May 2010
The Congress of South African Trade Unions reaffirms its total support for the strike against Transnet by members of SATAWU and UTATU.
The federation condemns the lying propaganda being spewed out by Transnet, and the malicious way the media is falsely accusing the strikers of deliberately trying to sabotage the FIFA World Cup and South Africa’s economic future.
The same media commentators never blame the Transnet management for threatening the World Cup or the economy, when they refuse to negotiate seriously and come up with new proposals which move closer to the workers’ justified demands.
They demand that only the workers should back down and take what Transnet have offered “in the national interest”. COSATU applauds the workers for refusing to submit to such blackmail. The dispute has absolutely nothing to do with the World Cup. It is a strike for a living wage and better benefits, which is entirely in line with COSATU’s Living Wage Campaign.
COSATU and the unions must re-emphasise that the first and foremost reason for rejecting the 11% offer was that for around 60% of the workforce this offer would result in a lower take home pay than the 8% offer which was made during the course of conciliation and which was rejected.
Trade unions moreover do not just negotiate for existing members. They negotiate conditions of employment which apply to future workers. In a number of respects the 11% offer sought to remove or downwardly vary existing conditions of employment, including:
o The existing Housing Allowance, paid to all Bargaining Unit workers to assist in home purchase, rental or renovation. There is an agreed formula, with minimum and maximum payments. The allowance has been in place for many years and is regarded as a critical attractive element of the pay package for Transnet workers. The 11% offer seeks to convert this allowance into a “non pensionable allowance” (NPA) for the current incumbents. This means that future workers will no longer be entitled to it.
o The 11% offer seeks to impose a new overtime cap across the Divisions. This impacts on the rate of overtime pay. While existing employees will retain the current cap, in some Divisions future employees would be subject to a lower cap (and therefore to a lower rate of overtime pay).
o The offer also seeks to reduce the level of medical aid subsidy for future employees. While current employees retain the current level of subsidy in a converted non pensionable allowance, future employees receive a flat rate of R4800 per annum i.e. R400 per month.
The combined impact of the above is staggering for future employees. For example an operator of a large crane is presently earning R164, 121 p.a. basic, i.e. R74.26 per hour. With the new proposed ceiling of R149, 736 he would be paid an overtime rate of R101.62. He works an average of 80 hours a month overtime, which translates into overtime earnings of R106, 934 in a year. A new employee paid in terms of the new ceiling would be paid R97, 555 in a year. The savings in overtime would be R9, 379.
The savings on the housing allowance, which would no longer exist for new employees, would be R11, 940.
The current employee gets a medical subsidy of R15, 012 p.a. This will become R10, 212 under the proposed dispensation. The new employee will get a subsidy of R4, 800. The savings will be R5, 412 p.a.
The current employee will get a non pensionable medical allowance as compensation for a reduced medical aid subsidy of R4, 800 p.a. The new employee will not. The savings will be R4, 800 p.a.
The workers who would be worse off under the new ‘11%’ offer are all members of the Transnet medical aid scheme, Transmed. There are 13,500 workers currently not on Transmed medical aid scheme but the rest are all members.
A comparison of the ‘8%’ and ‘11%’ offers as applied to the basic wage, the 13th cheque, the housing allowance and medical aid subsidy on a number of current wage examples illustrates this practically. A Transmed member on a basic salary of R100 000 would have come away with a total package of R143 130 under the ‘8%’ offer, but only R139 693 under the ‘11%’ offer. Only the lowest paid Transmed members would have gained more from the 11% offer than the previously rejected 8% offer.
The 11% offer on the table downwardly varies or removes a number of conditions of employment for workers going forward. It is an attempt by management to restructure pay in a way that drastically reduces the cost of labour in the future.
So it is not the unions but Transnet who have caused the present crisis, by effectively trying to force through these downward variations in wages and conditions, walking away from any attempt to reach a negotiated settlement and refusing to move on any substantial issue.
On 14 May 2010, the unions carefully identified areas on which negotiation should be focused if a settlement were to be reached. They expected that management would apply their minds to these areas, but to no avail.
The two unions were also ready to make a major concession, when they requested a break in the negotiations to seek an expedited mandate to reduce their demand for an increase in the basic wage from 15% to 13%. Yet the employer was unmoved.
COSATU agrees with the unions that the Transnet negotiators “are acting in bad faith, and are incompetent and uncaring of the company and its workers, despite what they say in their full page newspaper adverts”.
They have been misleading their own board, government and the public. They, not the unions, have caused this crisis and they must be held to account. The government, as the shareholder, must intervene and instruct Transnet to seriously engage in negotiations and be prepared to compromise.
As the unions rightly say, this dispute goes to the heart of the national and international campaign for Decent Work and a Living Wage. South Africa has the highest levels of inequality in the world. Workers cannot therefore accept that they should accept wage increases of no more than inflation, which simply maintain the present levels of inequality in percentage terms and increase them in absolute terms.
This is especially so while CEOs continue to vote themselves increases far above the inflation rate. Chris F. Wells, Transnet’s Acting Group Chief Executive and Executive Director, currently earns R6 446 000 a year in salary and bonuses. That is 121 times higher than the basic wage for Transnet workers. In other words it would take the lowest paid Transnet worker 121 years to earn what the CEO earns in one year.
COSATU’s two million members stand ready to launch solidarity action if Transnet do not speedily return to the negotiating table with genuinely improved offers. An injury to one is an injury to all!
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
P.O. Box 1019
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667