Parliament is on lockdown as striking Nehawu unionised continue to violently clash with police and security personnel.
Personnel, who were not on strike and who stepped away from their desks for an early lunch or a cup of coffee continued to appeal to police stationed at the entry points to let them in so they could get back to work. The compound was shut down earlier after police tried to remove protesters.
Tensions ensued as the protest turned violent. Smoke gas coloured the sky and stun grenades echoed. It is understood the order to remove protesters
came from the secretary to parliament.
Nehawu and management of parliament are set to meet at 5.30pm today to find a solution to ongoing strike action which has brought operations at legislative seat of government to a standstill.
Treasurer of the Nehawu branch in parliament Akhona Busakwe said the union was hoping for answers. At lunchtime today, riot police were called in to apparently evict protesters from the precinct. This resulted in over 10 stun grenades being vollied into the striking crowd.
“We still do not know who sent them, no-one served us with any interdict (to protest action). It came as a surprise. It’s only natural as human beings that we would try to protect ourselves… Politicians tried to intervene to assist us. They were surprised that we would be treated as such as workers,” said Busakwe who is a committee secretary.
Researcher Sonwabile Ngxiza who was earlier dragged away from the crowd and detained in handcuffs said he did not understand why he had been targeted.
With little droplets of blood on her shirt from a cut finger and a bright red bump on his head, Ngxiza said he did not feel the police had been heavy handed.
“I don’t recall, I don’t remember any physical assault from the police or the workers,” he said adding that was probably just innocently injured in the scuffle.