Municipal workers trash Durban streets
SPORADIC violence marred the second municipal workers march led by the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) in the Durban city centre yesterday
Hundreds of Imatu members went on the rampage during their strike to force the South African Local Government Association (Salga) to meet their demand of an 18 percent or R2,000 increase.
The strike has reached its second week and negotiations between the employer and union resumed on Monday as Salga is not moving on their offer of 6,8 percent.
The strikers set fire to rubbish bins on the road near King Dinuzulu Peace Park, blocking traffic.
Heavily armed police tried in vain to warn the strikers not to destroy municipal property.
The strikers continued to dump waste and stinking rubbish on Dr Pixley Ka-Seme Street leading to the central business district, forcing shops and other businesses to close early.
Police arrested an Imatu member for dragging a rubbish bin on the street. The arrest delayed the march because the strikers demanded his release. It took more than an hour for police to free the man, who was released on warning.
The protesters burnt rubbish along Peace Park and continued until they reached Garden Park, opposite Durban City Hall.
There they handed a memorandum to eThekwini deputy mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala. Police doused the fire with water canons while others had containers full of water.
Imatu regional chairperson, Thembinkosi Mkhulise, warned that the strike would continue if the employer continued to take them for granted.
Accepting the memorandum Shabalala said: "We see that you are hungry and angry. This memorandum we will pass on to Salga's national office where the negotiations are currently being held. What you have asked about eThekwini will be looked into soon."