Magistrate grants bail to 'disgraceful' striking eThekwini municipal workers

Eleven municipal workers charged with public violence appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Eleven municipal workers charged with public violence appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday.
Image: Lwandile Bhengu

Magistrate Vanitha Armu has labelled as "disgraceful" the alleged behaviour of eThekwini municipality workers who were arrested for public violence this week.

The 11 workers - Simphiwe Kubeka, Thulasizwe Luthuli, Robert Mkhize, Eric Dlamini, Sibonelo Msomi, Alfred Molefe, Nozipho Buthelezi, Lindiwe Mtshali, Zanele Ndimande, Nonkululeko Khumalo and Mabuya Mteshane appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday.

This followed their arrest at the Durban City Hall on Thursday where they clashed with public order police and metro police. 

Municipal workers started protesting on Tuesday following disputes over alleged salary increases granted to 55 uMkhonto weSizwe veterans employed in the water and sanitation department.

"Your alleged behaviour on the day in question was totally unacceptable. It was disgraceful. Even if there was a wage dispute, there was no need to behave in the alleged manner," said Armu before granting them R1,000 bail each.

Initially 30 people were arrested but only 11 were charged.

State prosecutor Malibongwe Mhlongo told the court that the 11 were arrested after throwing stones at police and damaging municipal property.

The court was packed with fellow municipal workers, who shouted "lies" when Mhlongo laid out the state's version of events. 

The matter was heard under heavy police presence. It will be back in court on June 14.


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