Samwu strike descends into chaos

Striking workers marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre as part of an indefinite strike.

Samwu protesters have regrouped outside the civic centre in Cape Town after police launched stun grenades at them. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Protesting Samwu members who caused chaos in some parts of Cape Town have gathered outside the civic centre.

Earlier, police fired stun grenades to control striking workers who looted stalls and tipped bins in the CBD.

Thousands of municipal workers, who have been on strike since Monday, marched to the civic centre.

Mayor Patricia De Lille came out to address the protesters, while others jeered as she faced the crowd.

The striking workers had been demanding De Lille come out to accept their memorandum, saying they would not leave until she did so.

Union leaders addressed the crowd, but did not condemn the chaotic scenes and looting by some members.

Some vendors were forced to abandon their stalls, while motorists made u-turns in traffic as protesters threw objects at their vehicles.

De Lille says the city would sue Samwu if the looting damage merited a court case.

She says she respects their right to protest, but says it should be done peacefully.

De Lille cited a 2009 High Court ruling in which transport union Satawu was held responsible for damage caused in the CBD.

The Mayor also said she's prepared to meet with a Samwu delegation.

They are expected to meet in the next hour.