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Union threatens to prolong city strike

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City residents face an uncertain seven days after Samwu members threatened to prolong their strike action

The front and rear entrances of the municipal building were covered with faeces. Picture: Soraya Crowie

KIMBERLEY residents face an uncertain seven days after members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) threatened to prolong their strike action unless the Sol Plaatje Municipality gives in to their demands.

This follows a brief engagement with the municipality during which the acting municipal manager, Boy Dhluwayo, apparently requested a further seven days to respond to their demands.

“It is fine, we will give him seven days. But the municipality will remain closed for seven days. And we want a positive response because there is money,” union members said on Thursday.

“We will not be moved or be lied to any more.”

The workers have demanded the immediate implementation of a Covid-19 danger allowance, a 6.5 salary increase, overtime payment, the permanent appointment of contract workers and a nights out allowance for traffic officers.

The strike action entered its third day on Thursday and all municipal services came to a standstill.

Union members assembled at the Civic Centre at 7.30am Thursday morning, burning tyres and blocking the front and rear entrances of the building with spilled faeces.

It is believed that members of the SAPS initiated the engagement between municipal officials and a Samwu delegation in the hope that an amicable solution could be reached.

Striking workers were, however, frustrated by news that four Samwu members were served with an urgent interdict yesterday.

The interdicted members are Nomathamsanqa Banda, Daily Semau, Dutch Mongale and Sammy Phillis.

After receiving feedback from the meeting, workers started a fire on top of the stairway at the back entrance, close to the door.

More police officials were dispatched to the Civic Centre while Samwu vowed to expand the strike action today, although it did not elaborate on its plan of action.

The union’s local secretary, Nomathamsanqa Banda, expressed her irritation with the acting municipal manager’s behaviour of interdicting them.

“We still say that Sol Plaatje Municipality has money (to attend to the union’s demands). They had money to interdict our members.”

Banda said the fact that the police were not violent towards them was an indication that their strike certificate was legal.

“The police were only here to observe. And they tried to intervene by advocating the engagement, regardless of the fact that we told them that nothing will come out of it.

“That is exactly what happened. We still say we are only prepared to engage with the municipality next week.”