City tense as striking workers cause chaos in Durban

Thousands of striking waste and sanitation workers gathered outside the Durban City Hall on Thursday.
Thousands of striking waste and sanitation workers gathered outside the Durban City Hall on Thursday.
Image: ORRIN SINGH

The situation is tense outside the Durban City Hall where thousands of protesting municipal workers have gathered over an ongoing dispute about what they say are unfair promotions.

Metro and SAPS were deployed to the vicinity at 8am on Thursday to block off certain routes to prevent municipal refuse trucks from entering the city.

However, a string of vehicles which had been travelling in convoy from the northern parts of the city managed to get through the blockades and into the area where they closed roads, causing a major backlog of traffic in the CBD and surrounding areas.

The protest comes in the wake of the alleged promotion of more that 50 uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans from grade 4 pay scale to grade 10.

Protesting municipal workers are calling on the city manager to provide answers to what they have deemed unfair promotions.

Ethekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza reportedly said the metro had taken the decision to put a halt to all promotions in an attempt to quell tensions.

City managers are believed to be in a meeting with various unions at the City Hall to find an amicable solution.

A municipal worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of intimidation, said that workers would not be satisfied if the city halted all promotions.

"We won't stop here, this is just the beginning. We are working for peanuts. President (Cyril) Ramaphosa spoke yesterday and said companies should stop paying employees with poverty.

"This is exactly what eThekwini municipality is doing to us. This needs to come to an end. We cannot keep working on a grade 4 salary. We simply cannot survive on that measly amount," he said.

Earlier, crowds threatened members of the public and journalists who were filming or photographing them. A scuffle nearly broke out when a member of the public was confronted by angry protesters who forced him to delete footage from his cellphone.


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