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Municipal workers’ strike sees marches, looting and intimidation

Municipal workers across the country wrapped up their mass action for the day after marches in several...

Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo addresses striking municipal workers outside his offices on 27 July, 2009. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

Municipal workers across the country wrapped up their mass action for the day after marches in several cities including <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><city w:st="on">Johannesburg, <city w:st="on">Pretoria and <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Cape Town.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Earlier SA Local Government Association Chair Amos Masondo told strikers in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Johannesburg the metro councils they were demanding wage hikes from faced challenges of their own.

“We are operating under very difficult circumstances that many municipalities have difficulties of even paying salaries.”

After Masondo spoke, the marchers dispersed and there were reports of looting as they made their way from Braamfontein to <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Newtown.

At about 2pm they handed over a memorandum of demands to Masondo at the metro centre in Braamfontein.

While accepting the memorandum Masondo said every effort would be made to meet the demand of a 15 percent wage increase but added some metros were battling to pay salaries and workers must understand this posed problems at the bargaining council.

The statement was met with boos and jeers and union leaders needed to step in to calm the crowds.

It was reported some shops along <street w:st="on"><address w:st="on">Bree Street were looted despite the presence of hundreds of police officers through out the city centre.

CAPE TOWN’S STREETS TRASHED BY PROTESTORS

Around 1 000 striking municipal workers marched through Bellville in <place w:st="on"><city w:st="on">Cape Town on Monday.

Many municipal workers including street sweepers did away with their brooms - opting instead to trash the streets of Bellville.

There were more than a few intoxicated demonstrators and coupled with union militancy the demonstration was chaotic but police did not have to use force.

Strikers say they believe their demands are fair and will not accept what they call a paltry offer.

(Editing by Lenyaro Sello)

Timeline

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