||South African Protest News 13 November - 14 December 2012
(2012) South African Protest News 13 November - 14 December 2012
. : -.
||Miners want to shut down NUM office|
Omphemetse Molopyane (The New Age) 11 December 2012
Just over a month after mine workers in Limpopo returned to work after a long period of strikes and disruptions, workers at Dishaba mine in Amandelbult, Limpopo, went on a go-slow yesterday morning.
One of the workers, who identified himself as James, said the miners want the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) closed.
“We as workers want the NUM offices to close as we no longer want to be represented by them. We will go back to work today because management has promised that the offices will be closed by the end of business today,” James said.
Another worker at Dichaba, who also asked not to be named, claimed that the union had failed them. “NUM does not represent us as it is always on the side of the management. During the recent strike it was clear which side the union was on. We cannot continue to work with NUM because we do not trust that they have our best interests at heart,” the worker said.
NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union was unaware of the go-slow.
“We haven’t been informed about the incident but we will investigate it. Apart from that, it is unconstitutional for people to demand that NUM offices must be closed. If some people feel they want out of NUM they should do so peacefully,” Seshoka said.
Seshoka added that miners were free to leave the union and form their own if they felt they could be represent better and leave those who still wanted to be, part of NUM.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Ronel Otto said the police were unaware of the go-slow.
Anglo Platinum spokesperson Mpumi Sithole could not be reached for comment.
Eleven held for Klerksdorp looting
IOL News 11 December 2012
Eleven people were arrested on Tuesday for public violence and possession of stolen goods in Jouberton, outside Klerksdorp, police said.
They went on the rampage after evictions by the Matlosana municipality, said Lt-Col Lesego Metsi.
“Since this morning, the community members of the affected extensions gathered along the main streets and barricaded roads with stones and other objects,” said Metsi.
He said residents of informal settlements in the area began looting shops around 10am.
Two Pakistanis were injured in the attack.
Metsi said seven people were arrested for possession of goods thought to have been stolen from three businesses in the area. Four people were arrested for public violence.
They would be formally charges and would appear soon in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court.
He said the police continued to monitor the situation and urged residents “not to take their frustration and anger out on innocent residents and foreign nationals”.
“... We would like to urge all the parties to co-operate and resolve the situation amicably.” - Sapa
ANC Intimidation in Clare Estate this Morning
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement 7 December 2012
March Gets Underway Despite ANC Intimidation in Clare Estate this Morning
From early this morning Ward 23 councillor Themba Mtshali went from shack settlement to shack settlement in Ward 23 intimidating people and warning them not to participate in today's march - which was been unlawfully banned by the local SAPS. Mtshali was accompanied by his BEC and his (always armed) bodyguards.
There was also a large police presence in the area. The police were heavily armed and had two water cannons. In light of the fact that it was the police that unlawfully banned the march and their history of violence against our movement - and their support of violence against us from the ruling party - their presence there may also have been a form of intimidation. We know that their work is often to protect the politicians - not the people or what's left of our democracy. However the marchers were able to assemble and to begin the march. The police did not try to disperse them so it seems that they have backed down from their ban in face of the pressure. There is also a strong media presence. However ANC supporters have massed at the councillor's offices and are saying that they will block us from delivering our memorandum.
Abahlali baseMjondolo have been joined by comrades visiting from Take Back the Land in the USA on this march.
For up to the minute information on the unfolding situation please contact:
Ntombemhlophe Zothwa: 083 218 1934
Zodwa Nsibande: 071 183 4383
E-toll protest a success: Cosatu
IOL News 6 December 2012
Johannesburg - Cosatu's “drive-slow” against the tolling of Gauteng freeways on Thursday was a success, the union federation's Gauteng secretary Dumisani Dakile said.
“As Cosatu we are very happy, the 'drive-slow' was more than successful and raised awareness of the fight,” he said.
“This fight is not a fight for Cosatu only, it is a fight for South Africa.”
Dakile said they would not stop fighting against e-tolls until the system was scrapped. The protest was intended to send a message to the government.
“If they have not got the message yet, they will.”
Transport department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said the government noted the protest action and respected the right of individuals and organisations to protest. He said the department consulted with the public when the process of e-tolling started in 2007.
“All matters of concern were adequately addressed with concerned parties in all these sessions. Assertions that this project is being forced on South Africans are therefore devoid of truth.”
The Congress of SA Trade Unions-led protest was to show opposition to the government's plans to toll major highways around Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Two convoys of vehicles drove at 20km/h on major highways around Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. Protesters sang and danced as police urged them to speed up.
Stickers were handed to motorists that read: “Demolish e-tolls not houses”, “Crash privatisation -open national roads”, “Reclaim our national roads” and “Don't register with Sanral, don't buy e-tags”.
Johannesburg metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said traffic was affected throughout the day.
“Traffic was congested on the M1. The action caused the traffic on the highways to back-up.”
Shortly after their arrival at Masakhane Street in Katlehong, Cosatu provincial chairman Phutas Tseki thanked the police, unions and motorists for the success of the “drive-slow”.
“We are coming here in February and closing down all the e-tolls,” he told the group.
Last week, Cosatu threatened to occupy Gauteng streets, and block freeways if it did not receive positive feedback on memorandums handed to several departments.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance had brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling had yet to be made. - Sapa
N3 at a standstill
IOL News 6 December 2012
Protesters dance beneath N12 gantry
Johannesburg - The N3 near Katlehong on the East Rand came to a standstill late on Thursday afternoon as motorists joined Cosatu's anti-toll “drive-slow” convoy.
As police tried to get the motorists to speed up they slowed down even more.
Journalists and other people were stopped from parking on the side of the road to work or take pictures as police urged the protesters to drive faster.
Meanwhile, the Johannesburg group of the anti-toll protest, against the tolling of Gauteng's freeways, was heading along the M1 north, past the Booysens off-ramp, towards the CBD.
Traffic was moving slowly as motorists hooted and pumped their fists out of the windows.
Protesters want the e-toll system dropped. Last week the Congress of SA Trade Unions threatened to occupy Gauteng streets and block freeways during the protest.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling has yet to be made. - Sapa
Protesters dance beneath N12 gantry
IOL News 6 December 2012
A “drive slow” protest against e-tolling came to a stop on the N12 near Soweto on Thursday afternoon as protesters left their cars to sing and dance beneath a gantry.
The impromptu demonstration by about a dozen people was disrupted when police roped in a tow-truck to remove the vehicle parked in front of the convoy.
A traffic officer shouted at them: “You cannot stop a car in this road.”
A Congress of SA Trade Unions protester jumped out of his vehicle and tried to stop them from attaching a chain to the car.
“No guys,” he shouted as the car was lifted to be towed away.
“All we ask is for you to move. Nothing else,” an officer responded.
Protesters and the police quarrelled about whether the car was being damaged as it was hastily towed away.
“They are towing us and the police are trying to create another Marikana,” protester Thabo Mokgopela said. He was referring to the shooting in Marikana, North West, on August 16, in which 34
striking mineworkers died and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on a group of protesters.
The anti-toll protest was on the N12, on the way back to central Johannesburg.
A second convoy was on the N3, headed to Katlehong near the N12. Only one lane of the highway was open to traffic as more motorists joined the protest.
Both groups were returning to their starting points, moving at 20km/h.
The Cosatu-led protest was to show opposition to the government's plans to toll major highways around Johannesburg and Pretoria. - Sapa
Cosatu’s anti-toll protest continues
IOL News 6 December 2012
The Cosatu-led anti-toll protest trundled on around Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon to a cacophony of hooting and shouts of support from people lining the highways.
On the R24 near the Barbara Road offramp in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, cars joined the convoy of anti-toll protesters, including a truck which blared out music as it snaked through the bypass, which is intended to be part of a pay-per-use road.
Roadside workers and people in shops and offices stopped their business to watch the spectacle, which was massively marshalled by police officials.
Only one lane out of the four usually filled with cars was open for the protest involving around 50 vehicles spanning about a kilometre.
When they reached a gantry at the OR Tambo International Airport, in Kempton Park, everybody stopped their cars and hooted, got out and danced on the road, only to be hustled back into their vehicles by the police.
They then slowly took the split for the R21 to Pretoria.
Further afield, on the N3 to Pretoria, another convoy of protesters was in the area of the Buccleuch interchange, also approaching a toll gantry.
Last week, Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) officials said they would take down the gantries to show their opposition to tolls, but have since said that they will not.
A truck driver believed that demolishing the toll gantries was the way to go.
“They should demolish those stupid things. We are already paying for these roads... and now they want to charge us double.”
Johannesburg metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said no bicycles were allowed to be part of the “drive-slow” protest.
Vehicles which were not part of the protest and which blocked traffic would be towed away.
Protesters want the e-toll system dropped.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling has yet to be made.
Protesters have until 2pm for their action, according to the permission granted. - Sapa
Protesters block roads in Joburg
IOL News 10 December 2012
Johannesburg - Protests by residents of an informal settlement disrupted traffic between Krugersdorp and the Roodepoort business district on Monday, Johannesburg metro police said.
Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said residents from the Princess informal settlement had placed large rocks and stones on the road.
"Main Reef Road has been blocked off between Corlett Avenue and Wilgespruit Road," he said
Raw sewage dumped in office
IOL News 7 December 2012
Bloemfontein - Tokologo municipality workers in Boshof in the Free State have refused to go to work after raw sewage was dumped in their office, the Volksblad newspaper report on Friday.
The report said angry residents dumped a bucket full of raw sewage in the office to protest against alleged nepotism by the municipal manager Sono Mofokeng.
An independent councillor Michael Lentsa told the newspaper the protesters wanted to talk to the municipal manager about the appointment of 10 people.
The protesters threw the sewage in the office when they heard Mofokeng was on leave. It is alleged that the posts were not advertised.
Residents, councillors and Mofokeng met for most of Thursday in the neighbouring town of Herzogville on the matter.
The newspaper said it was decided the appointments would be nullified, which was accepted by the residents.
However, the dumped sewage was not yet cleaned up by Thursday afternoon, the report said.
Land rights activists in court
News 246 December 2012
Cape Town - Four land rights activists appeared in court after being arrested during farmworker protests in the Western Cape, the Cape Argus reported on Thursday.
Mercia Andrews, Denia Jansen, Margaret Visser and Riaan Willemse, of the Mawubye Land Rights Forum, faced charges of incitement, intimidation and participating in an illegal gathering, after their arrest on Tuesday.
They appeared in the Ashton Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, where they were released and their case postponed to January 21.
Andrews told the newspaper that no intimidation was used to encourage others to join a march they were participating in.
She said about 450 marchers gathered peacefully and were moving from farm to farm in the region, "inviting" others to join them.
They were making their way to a large packing store in the Koo Region near Montagu when their police escort apparently stopped them.
"When police tried to herd them back down the road, verbal insults were directed by the marchers at the police - as any person would do so when treated like this."
When the four accused approached the police and threatened to call the media, they were apparently escorted to a police van.
NFP members vote in fear
Bongani Hans (IOL News) 5 December 2012
Even passing in the street is tense for IFP and NFP members in KwaMashu prior to todays by-election in the violence-torn area. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo
Durban - The National Freedom Party (NFP) members, who left their KwaMashu Hostel homes following alleged death threats from their political rivals, are expected to return on Wednesday to vote under police guard in the municipal by-election.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) KZN chief electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, said the police presence had been beefed-up in the area.
On Tuesday, a handful of NFP members arrived in a convoy of vehicles at the IFP stronghold to campaign for their candidate Mzwemali Xulu.
Their arrival coincided with the special vote, for the elderly, sick and disabled.
Xulu is contesting the position against the IFP’s Sakhiwe Ngcamu and the ANC’s Sbongokuhle Mathonsi. The position was left open when the IFP councillor Themba Xulu was kidnapped and murdered in October.
NFP spokesman Skhumbuzo Zulu said many of those who had left their homes, fearing an attack, would need police protection to vote.
“Right now there are multi-party negotiations to restore peace here so that those who have been kicked out of their homes can return safely,” said Zulu.
The NFP gathered outside the hostel and the police led them inside.
As the convoy negotiated the narrow streets, NFP members threw away their complimentary party T-shirts, with Magwaza-Msibi’s image.
However, other people took the T-shirts and promised to vote for the NFP candidate.
“Most of our members are scared to come here following last week’s violence which left a number of cars damaged. Even now we are scared, but the police did a good job protecting us,” said Zulu.
IFP spokesman Edward Mngadi denied that NFP members had been chased from their houses.
“NFP members are welcome to come and vote as the IFP is committed to peace and free and fair elections,” he said.
Mosery said the IEC expected 17 000 people to vote at the hostel’s four voting stations.
“I’m confident this election will go well as we have not seen candidates’ posters being vandalised,” he said. - The Mercury
Cheers as principal returns to school
Slindile Maluleka (IOL News) 5 December 2012
With just days to go before schools close, popular Umbumbulu principal Premilla Deonath, has been told to report for duty after her four-month “precautionary suspension” was lifted.
While pupils, teachers and parents at the top-performing Khulabebuka High School celebrated over her return, Deonath said she was confused by the new instruction, especially because the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education had not finalised its disciplinary inquiry in respect of serious charges levelled against, which she has denied.
She was suspended in July after allegations of mismanagement, maladministration and incitement of parents and the community.
The letter informing her of the lifting of her suspension was signed by department head Nkosinathi Sishi, on October 29, but was sent to her only on Monday, two days after a schools district official had called and instructed her to report to the Umbumbulu circuit office this week.
“I was excited but confused at the same time because it is dated October and I only received it now,” she said. “I don’t know where it has been.”
While Deonath has been reinstated, she is expected to continue attending the disciplinary hearing
, which had been postponed until January 22.
Deonath said she had attended the hearing on November 22 and 23, but no mention was made of her suspension being lifted.
“Since the beginning of the suspension, I have said I am 100 percent innocent. I have nothing to hide,” she said in a tearful interview
She blamed her predicament on internal squabbles at school. “It was internal politics, which I feel that my children should not have been dragged into, but now that I am back, everything will return to normal.”
Deonath’s forced absence had been felt at the school, where classes were disrupted for about a month as pupils, parents and school governing body (SGB) members protested against the suspension.
Despite the staff challenges at the school, it managed a 100 percent matric pass rate last year.
Deonath was welcomed back yesterday by cheering, singing and ululating crowds, and the blowing of vuvuzelas.
“This is such a surprise and the community is excited about her return,” said SGB secretary Ncamisile Ngcobo.
S’gananda Ngubane, the SGB deputy chairman, described Deonath as a hard-working principal and said she had adapted well as an Indian stationed in a historically black community.
“She doesn’t treat herself any different from us. There are no racial lines… she is one of us,” he said. “The community suffered emotionally when she was removed.”
Teacher Mandla Dlamini said the school was poorly managed in her absence.
“Now that Deonath is back, it means that the school would have a strong management team, teaching and learning would continue and the school operations would run smoothly,” he said.
Department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi, said the team of investigators looking into the allegations against Deonath had recommended that she resume her duties.
“She has been allowed to go back to work while the investigation continues,” he said. - Daily News
Strike delays social grants in ECape
IOL News 4 December 2012
Payments to the beneficiaries of social grants were delayed in the Eastern Cape after Fidelity security workers embarked on an unprotected strike, a report said.
Eastern Cape - Payments to the beneficiaries of social grants were delayed in the Eastern Cape after Fidelity security workers embarked on an unprotected strike, a report said on Tuesday.
Fidelity transports money to Cash Payment Services (CPS) paypoints across the cities but on Monday, the services were delayed by hours as workers downed tools demanding a wage increase, DispatchOnline reported.
The strike affected beneficiaries in East London and Queenstown.
According to the online publication, payments were only made after Fidelity hired other people to transport money.
The strikers told the publication they resorted to a strike because the process of resolving their matter by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration was stalling.
Fidelity Security Group CEO Wahl Bartman confirmed the workers were striking and that the company deployed other people to do the job.
He said the strike was unprotected, the DispatchOnline reported. - Sapa
Going nowhere slowly: Cosatu lays out e-toll protest plan
Mail & Guardian 4 December 2012
Highways in Ekurhuleni and Jo'burg will be gridlocked on Thursday as Cosatu protests against the controversial e-tolling system.
In what was initially billed as a protest to bring highways in the province to a standstill, the labour federation has now decided to lead convoys of at least 100 cars on routes in the two cities.
"We are calling on all interested parties to come forward and join this protest," Dumisani Dakile, the Congress of South African Trade Union's (Cosatu) Gauteng secretary told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday.
"This is about taking on a system that will cost workers and everyday citizens too much money."
The Johannesburg leg of the action will begin in Braamfontein, with protestors gathering in Jorissen Street outside Cosatu House from 6am.
Deploying at 9am, the convoy will travel down the M1 highway heading north from Smit Street.
Proceeding to the Buccleuch interchange, the convoy will move on the N1 south to the M2 east exit, before re-entering the Johannesburg city centre via Rissik Street.
The Ekurhuleni leg of the action will also commence at 6am, with protestors gathering at Mboro Church in Alrode.
The convoy is due to start at 9am, joining the Heidelburg Road on-ramp of the N3 and heading north along the N3, N12, R24, and R21 to the Nelmapius off-ramp in Centurion.
It will then head back south on the R21, travel down the N12 west towards Johannesburg and back on to the N3 south before arriving in Alrode.
Both convoys plan to travel at no faster than 10kph, and the trip is estimated to take seven hours and aim to finish at 3pm.
Cosatu also had plans to lead a protest convoy in Tshwane but called it off.
"This is just the beginning," Dakile said. "We will see how this protest goes and then see if we can get even bigger next year."
Cosatu added there would be measures in place to ensure the protest did not turn rowdy or violent, following reports last week that the labour federation planned to trash the system's gantries.
The controversial tolling system requires commuters to fit an e-tag that will monitor each time they pass a gantry on the highway and be charged electronically. Vehicles without an e-tag will have their licence plates monitored and billed for their journeys. If people refuse to fit e-tags, they will be barred from renewing their vehicle licenses until all outstanding fees have been paid and an e-tag fitted.
The government and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) are squaring up against the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in the North Gauteng High Court over the implementation of e-tolling.
Outa argues there was a lack of public consultation on the state's part in bringing the system into action.
An interdict was previously granted by the North Gauteng High Court against the introduction of e-tolling in April.
The Constitutional Court overturned the interdict, ruling that courts could not directly interfere in the implementation of government policy.
Ratings agency Moody's previously warned the continued indecision over the implementation of e-tolling threatens South Africa's credit rating.
Cosatu could not confirm if Outa would officially be involved in Thursday's action but said the drive-slow would "assist" in their legal fight against the system.
"It is about showing government how angry citizens are and how opposed they are to e-tolling," Dakile said
Mpuma hospital hit by strike: DA
IOL News 4 December 2012
Workers at the Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas, Mpumalanga, have gone on strike because of unpaid overtime, the DA claimed on Tuesday
It was critical for the hospital to resume its usual operations as soon as possible, provincial Democratic Alliance chief whip James Masango said in a statement.
The provincial health department was not immediately able to comment on the matter or verify that workers were striking. Hospital management could not immediately be reached for comment.
“The unnecessary and uncalled-for strike action has forced hospital management to only admit and treat emergency cases, while all general admissions (and) out-patients... have been (turned) away,” Masango said. - Sapa
Armed men arrested as farm strike resumes
IOL News 4 December 2012
Franschhoek - Police arrested seven armed men on Tuesday as farm workers in South Africa's picturesque winelands resumed strike action, with tension enveloping the Western Cape region.
The men, suspected to be members of the far-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), were found with one firearm and 60 rounds of ammunition at a roadblock leading to the epicentre of the farmworkers strike.
Regional police spokesman Andre Traut said the suspects aged between 33 and 66 years “were driving in the direction of De Doorns when their vehicle was searched.”
It was in De Doorns - outside Cape Town - that last month's unrest began, leaving two dead and vineyards burnt.
On Tuesday, there were however few signs of a repeat of last month's deadly violence as the strike resumed.
The strike, which comes at the start of South Africa's grape harvest season, turned violent in November when workers burned vineyards, looted shops and blockaded streets with burning tyres in towns close to Cape Town.
Many of the farmers have since hired private security firms to protect their property while the police have sent hundreds of additional officers to monitor the area.
Mario Wanza, a spokesman for the Farmworkers Strike Coalition, said a number of farm workers and protests organisers were arrested after the police fired rubber bullets in the area of Paarl, in the orange farming town of Citrusdal and near the town of Montagu.
“A number of people were shot,” he said. “We expect the strike to carry on for a number of days.”
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said the situation in farming communities was “under control” late on Tuesday afternoon.
Porschia Adams, a spokeswoman for AgriWes-Cape, which represents farmers in the Western Cape province, said farm workers marched to the group's offices in Paarl to hand over a memorandum of demands.
“About 200 people came in a group,” she said. “It was very small. Most of the areas today were quiet.”
Workers are demanding that their 70 rand ($8) daily wages be increased to 150 rand ($17).
Adams said a strike was unusual for the farming industry, where wage disputes were normally resolved “on the ground”.
“Farm workers do not normally strike. They are partners in business and they realise what their role is. They sort their issues out on the farm with the farmers.”
Adams said farmers were “reassessing their risks and thinking about alternatives” to using labour.
The fruit industry in the Western Cape employs around 200 000 permanent workers and 200 000 casual labourers.
Michael Loubser, a spokesman for Hex Valley Table Grape Farmers Association, said no violence had been reported early on Tuesday.
“About 95 percent of the permanent staff are at work today,” he said.
The only people who were not able to work were those from the nearby Stofland informal settlement, he said.
“The workers there have been told that if they go to work there will be consequences,” Loubser said.
So far talks to end the dispute have remained deadlocked.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has said that the basic wage may only be reviewed one year after it was put in place, according to legislation, with the current level dating to March this year.
Tony Ehrenreich, the general secretary of Western Cape branch of union federation Cosatu, said discussions with farmers had been fruitless.
“So far our discussions have yielded no results.” - Sapa-AFP
Farmworkers’ strike is over
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News) 5 December 2012
Western Cape - The general strike by workers in the province’s agricultural sector has been called off indefinitely, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich announced during a rally in De Doorns on Tuesday.
The decision and the premise on which it was made was welcomed by farmers approached by the Cape Argus.
Workers would be encouraged to unionise or to organise into collective bargaining bodies and to negotiate directly with their employers.
This echoed the sentiments of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies who addressed workers in De Doorns 24 hours before Cosatu’s announcement.
“The demand for a R150-a-day living wage remains unchanged,” Ehrenreich said, adding that a demand for farmworkers to have a share in the profits of the export harvest had been added.
“Workers will negotiate with their employers. We trust that agreements on farms could be reached through such a process.”
A woman protester shouts out as she and others protest against low wages paid by farmers, by burning tires in the township at Franschhoek. Photo: AP
Ehrenreich said strikes would resume on individual farms where agreements were not reached by January 9 next year.
This would coincide directly with “one of the most critical periods in the harvesting process, ensuring that farmers are under maximum pressure to reach an agreement with their workers before then”.
Unions, particularly Cosatu affiliate the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the independent Building and Allied Workers Union of SA (Bawusa), have been signing up new members since the strike began four weeks ago.
But, in Fawu Western Cape chairman Timothy Ncwana’s words, the competition between the unions was distracting from the process of publicising workers’ grievances while the strike was still ongoing.
Unions will now have carte blanche to recruit members.
“But, workers rights will always be protected by Cosatu – whether they are members of a union or not. Cosatu commits to staying abreast of negotiations that will be ongoing, and will take steps to ensure that there is no abuse of workers in these negotiations,” Ehrenreich said.
Anton Rabe, spokesman for Agri SA, welcomed the announcement.
“From the beginning we have accepted that there are challenges in our industry. But throughout we have called for proper processes to be put in place to address these.
“This is a welcome step in the right direction. I have remained an optimist from day one that we would end this process better than we started it,” he said, referring to the start of the strike on November 5 when vineyards in De Doorns were torched and shops looted.
However, farmworker Monwabisi Kondile said he was unhappy because Cosatu had been “playing football with the workers”.
He said at one moment they said they should strike and the next that they should not.
The strikes due to resume on Tuesday had different levels of support in the province.
In Ceres, Pieter du Toit of the Du Toit Group estimated that close to 100 percent of the workforce had gone to work on Tuesday.
In De Doorns, while many workers supported the stayaway, many went to work.
In these two areas the strike went ahead with few reports of intimidation and violence.
By late on Tuesday, there was a tense stand-off between police and farmworkers in Rawsonville.
Farmworkers allege that police opened fire with rubber bullets at a taxi rank at about 3pm.
The workers had returned from a march, organised by the Farmworkers Coalition, during which a memorandum was handed over to the offices of Agri Wes Cape – which represents farmers’ interests – and the Department of Labour in Paarl.
“The workers who left Paarl were in a good mood. The workers that are here are angry and tense,” said Colette Solomon, acting director of Women on Farms who was on the scene.
She slammed the police for “inciting tension rather than defusing it”.
But the police said they were attacked by stone-throwers before firing rubber bullets.
In Montagu, two activists with Mawubuye Land Rights and three workers were arrested during a march, said Gavin Joachims, a colleague of the activists.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said seven people had been arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm on the N1 outside Worcester.
A .308 Mauser and 60 rounds of ammunition had been found in a vehicle and no one could produce a valid licence for their possession, Traut said.
The suspects, aged between 33 and 66, were due in court once they had been charged, he said.
Meanwhile, Franschhoek police confirmed that about 500 farmworkers took to the streets in the Groendal area on Tuesday, burning tyres and causing havoc on the town’s roads.
Constable Marize Papier said the protesters were kept off the farms, and that no farms had been damaged.
“At the moment everything is under control, it’s all quiet now.
“There were about 500 workers and no one went on the farms and no one demolished any property,” Papier said.
About 30 police officers had been deployed to the scene.
Traut said a number of people were arrested for public violence.
“I can’t give an exact number yet, but about 15 people were arrested and there were a number of people injured,” he added.
‘Violent hooligans’ disrupt nominations
Genevieve Quintal 1 December 2012
The ANC in Limpopo had to abandon its nomination conference after a group, believed to be supporters of President Jacob Zuma, stormed the venue and intimidated delegates, the party said on Saturday.
“(The) conference was collapsed (on Friday night) by violent hooligans,” provincial spokesman Makonde Mathivha said.
“Delegates had to flee the venue. It was terrifying.”
Mathivha said it was very clear to the party in Limpopo who the people were, claiming that former provincial secretary Joe Maswanganye was part of the group.
“They wore T-shirts with the face of Zuma,” he said.
“It's a group refusing to accept the provincial conference (that took place) last year.”
Maswanganye was defeated at Limpopo's provincial elective conference last year and replaced by current secretary Soviet Lekganyane.
Mathivha said it was worrying when people within the ruling party could not respect the internal democratic processes.
Limpopo delegates were unable to nominate their preferred candidates for leadership of the party ahead of the national elective conference (NEC) in Mangaung.
Mathivha said Lekganyane was liaising with African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to discuss the way forward.
“This will be founded on what the secretary-general decides,” he said.
Mantashe said nomination processes in Limpopo had been suspended after Friday night's incident.
He said the national executive committee would meet on Monday to discuss whether Limpopo should convene its nomination conference at another time.
“This will have to be endorsed by the NEC.”
Limpopo has battled to get the process of nomination started.
Earlier this week, it had to postpone its nomination conference at the last minute to allow branches to complete branch general meetings.
They were given until Friday to do this. This was also the deadline for nominations set by the NEC.
Mantashe said majority of the ANC's provinces and leagues had managed to hold successful conferences.
“We have three outstanding, Limpopo, North West and Western Cape. There are difficult provinces and we are managing these,” he said.
North West was expected to nominate candidates on Saturday afternoon. The Western Cape adjourned its Provincial General Council (PGC) early on Saturday morning without endorsing preferred candidates.
Limpopo's regions differed in their nomination of who should lead the party for the next five years.
Some wanted Zuma to retain his position while others wanted change, calling for deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to take the reigns. - Sapa
Court order against Tshwane land invasion
IOL News3 December 2012
Tshwane metro municipality has been granted a court order against the invasion of government-owned land in Soshanguve south, north of Pretoria, the Gauteng housing department said on Monday.
The land was invaded in November and the invaders were evicted by the municipality, departmental spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa said in a statement.
The land, which consists of 800 stands, was earmarked for the development of low cost housing.
“Even following the start of the construction of houses on these stands, illegal invasion continued,” said Motlhaolwa.
“The mushrooming of shacks on the vacant stands and several attempts by the municipality to remove the illegal invaders until now, proved to be problematic.”
Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said: “I hope this court order will help to get the message across that we will not stand by and let these lawless invasions disrupt our services to the people any longer.”
Motlhaolwa said Gauteng residents could help the government by reporting illegal land invasions and the building of shacks on government-owned land. - Sapa
'R150 a day or we stay away'
Daneel Knoetze 3 December 2012
Cape Town - Farmworkers have reasserted their demand for a daily wage of R150. With no offer from farmers on the table, and with Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant saying a new sectoral determination for a minimum wage would take at least four months, strikes in the agricultural sector are set to resume on Tuesday.
“The farmers have intimidated us with dismissal, but we have gone too far to turn around now. They can’t intimidate us, we have lived under intimidation for 18 years since democracy,” said Merchia Adams of Mawubuye Land Rights, which convened a meeting in Ashton on Sunday.
There would be a complete stayaway on Tuesday.
“People will block the gates of the their respective farms to prevent scab labour from entering,” she added.
Support for a stayaway was also agreed upon at a Women on Farms meeting in De Doorns on Sunday.
Over the weekend, the Cape Argus interviewed a group of workers at the Keurboschkloof export grape farm in De Doorns.
Many workers in De Doorns agree that the successful strike at Keurboschkloof in September was the catalyst for the recent unrest on farms which spread province-wide.
Between September 17 and 22, workers on Keurboschkloof picketed outside the farm gates after being unfairly dismissed for refusing to accept a cut in their wages.
A committee elected by the workers negotiated with a senior stakeholder at SA Fruit Exporters, resulting in about 300 dismissed workers being reinstated.
After the celebration of that victory, workers at Keurboschkloof watched in despair as the strike in De Doorns descended into violence and a competition between two unions - the Cosatu-aligned Fruit and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and independent Black Association for the Agricultural Sector.
Jesaja Louw, regional chair for Fawu in Worcester, said the competition was inevitable.
Yet, Timothy Ncwana, Fawu’s provincial chairman, condemned a recruitment drive, saying it was “not the right time”.
“First the unions must assist the workers in getting their demands. Then, once they are happy, we can work on signing people up,” he said.
Owen Maromo, an activist with a refugee rights NGO, which advised Keurboschkloof workers during the September strike, said communication from the unions to the people in De Doorns had been lacking since the broad-scale strike began.
Maromo, an upstart politician who had to flee Zanu-PF persecution in Zimbabwe in 2008, said he was fired from a grape farm for his involvement in Keurboschkloof and had been sidelined, intimidated and silenced by “opportunistic politicians” who had claimed to represent the workers.
His disillusionment with ANC councillors was shared by Keurboschkloof worker Cornelia Mtsila who alleged Nelie Barends, an ANC councillor and private labour broker, had tried to bring in scab labourers to undermine the September strike.
“Now he is claiming to represent the workers. This is only a political game to score points for them,” she said.
Barends confirmed he was approached by farmers for scab labour, but said he had been misinformed and that he retracted this scab labour when he found out no agreement had been reached with striking workers.
After a farmworkers’ meeting on the De Doorns sports field on Sunday, where there was no clear leadership present, Maromo broke his silence.
In an argument with Louw, Maromo said unions and politicians had failed the workers. “People are confused. There is no communication, and there are virtually no farmworkers officially representing the cause,” he said. “If workers’ committees and farmers sat down opposite each other from the beginning, this would have been sorted out a long time ago.”
Cosatu said on Sunday that despite unions’ best efforts, it appeared they would not be able to avert the resumption of the strike tomorrow.
“What we know is that workers have called for one day of action across the whole agriculture sector across South Africa on December 4,” it said.
AgriWes Cape declined to comment.
Call for port protest
Look Local 3 December 2012
THE South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is calling for a protest on Saturday, December 1 against what it calls the unjustified spatial development of the Durban port.
“The Back of Port (BOP) plans have ignored significant social and environmental considerations in favour of economic development. The South Durban area will experience severe environmental and social disruption related to the port expansion,” said Desmond D’Sa of the SDCEA.
As part of a campaign against the expansion, and with the support of South Durban residents, the SDCEA will protest in resistance of these plans proposed by the municipality and Transnet.
Many people have objected to the rezoning of residential areas for logistic purposes, including vociferous opposition from Clairwood residents.
According to Desmond, “eThekwini Municipality and Transnet have not engaged the public in a meaningful and transparent manner regarding the port expansion plans. Presentation of the cumulative impacts of the plans has been ignored, and rather a piecemeal presentation of the individual projects has been offered to the public. Consultation with the public has been top-down, despite the eThekwini Mayor, James Nxumalo and the deputy city manager, Sipho Cele promising a bottom-up approach on two occasions.”
Despite the municipality promising meaningful stakeholder forums to be set up before the November 22 deadline for public participation, Desmond said no feedback has been received and the forums never materialised.
“If they want to talk, we are more than willing to meet them halfway, but they seem unwilling to engage.”
Many people are expected at the protest from the South Durban Basin, Umbilo, Kwamakhutha, Folweni, Umlazi, Isipingo, Inanda, Chatsworth and even Pietermaritzburg. Environmental experts and other specialists will be addressing the protestors. Mayor James Nxumalo, Premier Zweli Mkhize, Transnet manager Thami Ntshingila and municipal manager, Sibusiso Sithole have been invited to respond to complaints.
The protest will begin at 9am in Langeberg Road, at the Durban Container Terminal. The SDCEA calls for uniformity through the wearing of red clothes.
Support cosatu action to stop open road tolling in Gauteng
Cosatu 3 December 2012
The next phase of COSATU’s campaign of mass action against the e-tolling of our highways, will be a protest slow drive on the highways of Ekurhuleni on Thursday 6 December 2012.
Motorists are urged to assemble from 06h00 at the Old Trade Centre (Now Mboro Church), cnr Black Reef and Masakane Streets, near the Scaw Metal factory, Alrode. From 09h00 the convoy will join the N3 at the Heidelberg Road on-ramp, then drive North along the N3, N12, R24, and R21 to the Nelmapius off-ramp in Centurion and then back South on the R21, N12 West towards Johannesburg and back on to the N3 South before dispersing.
To get further information, COSATU Gauteng Province invites the media to a press conference, the details of which are:
DATE: Wednesday 5 December 2012
VENUE: 5th Floor, COATU House, 110 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.
Dumisani Dakile (Provincial Secretary)
COSATU Gauteng Province
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Tel: + 27 11 873-2610 / 11
Fax: +27 11 873-1272
Mobile: +27 82 727 1422