'Numsa accountable for strike violence'

Riah Phiyega’s office says Numsa must be held accountable for the violence during its wage strike.

Numsa members in Cape Town take part in a march marking the start of a national strike on 1 July 2014. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The office of National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says it wants to meet with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to discuss how to hold the union accountable for violence during its current wage strike in the metal and engineering industry.

About 220,000 workers downed tools for a salary hike of 15 percent across the country last week and since then sporadic incidents of violence and damage to property have been reported.

At least 98 people have already been arrested, with the majority of the incidents taking place in Gauteng's industrial zones.

Phiyega's spokesman Solomon Makgale says they will discuss the issue of financial liability for the losses incurred by companies that were attacked.

"Somebody must pay for the damage that has been caused, it's a financial liability and I think that if we hit the union leaders in the pocket, where it hurts, they will put measures in place to ensure that their members do not act in this manner."


Numsa on Tuesday announced it would hold a special national executive committee meeting to give feedback on the outcome of its latest negotiations with employers.

The gathering is expected to take place today.

The union said a new offer was tabled during negotiations on Tuesday, which were mediated by the Department of Labour.

Numsa leadership was unable to give details of the offer as it was yet to be discussed with striking members.

Negotiations resulted in some tensions between employer bodies Seifsa and Neasa, which struggled to agree on an equal wage increase.

Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said the union is hopeful that its members will reach a decision on the matter by the end of the week.

"We are hopeful that by Thursday, we should know what our members are saying to the offer."