‘We are not on strike’ says workers as Tshwane’s service delivery collapses

Samwu members can be seen protesting outside Tshwane House demanding a backlog of payments be made, 24 July 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

In Sunnyside, residents have also been without electricity for five days.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), whose members have been accused of disrupting service delivery in Tshwane, has distanced itself from any further industrial on its behalf.

“Our workers are back at work again,” said Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane.

The City of Tshwane had on Monday obtained a court interdict against protesting workers affiliated to Samwu.

“We have adhered to the court order, so the workers are back. We have said to the metro that if there is a problem with workers, they must call us.”

Samwu will attend to the matter and check on what the issue might be, it said.

“Samwu said clearly there were people taking advantage of the impasse between the metro and its employees, stealing and vandalising infrastructure. If there are members participating in such, please refrain from doing that.

“The strike left several parts of Tshwane without any power for several days, while no refuse was collected and other services such as water and sanitation were also impacted.”

Affected resident Veronica Masilo of Thaba Tshwane said: “We were again without any electricity today [Tuesday], which makes it day four. We have received nothing concrete from the department of public works or the metro.”

“I have a daughter who is attending online schooling and she has been affected, losing two days of her school work.”

Resident Esmerelda Maarman said they have been without any water or electricity for days now.

“I’m tired of the bad service and the fact that one’s complaints fall on deaf ears,” she said.

“These people don’t care. It has put my life and my family’s lives at risk. We have been self-isolating since the lockdown and have not been visiting family and friends, however, the lack of services has become an issue.”

In Sunnyside, residents have also been without electricity for five days.

Other affected areas include Lynnwood, Garsfontein, Faerie Glen, Silverton, Waterkloof, Mamelodi East and West, Nellmapius, Muckleneuk, Pretoria North and Centurion.

When approached for clarity on whether workers were still striking on Wednesday afternoon, Tshwane metro spokesperson Selby Bokaba directed Rekord to a previous statement from the metro stating workers were on strike.

However, Samwu refuted this, saying the statement was untrue. A Re Yeng bus and Tshwane Bus services, however, had to be suspended with immediate effect on Wednesday, due to safety concerns.

“Our bus drivers were threatened,” said Bokaba.

“Considering that there is no security along our operational areas after 15 of our traffic controllers were damaged, we decided to withdraw our fleet.”

He said the metro lost approximately R500 000 to repair the traffic controllers that were damaged.

This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.

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