De Lille threatens to sue Samwu over chaotic march

Some protesters looted stalls of informal traders and tipped over rubbish bins.

Chaos broke out in the Cape Town CBD during the Samwu strike. Samwu members are running amok. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has threatened to sue the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) to court following the violence that marred its protest march in the City of Cape Town's CBD on Wednesday.

The march, which formed part of a strike, descended into chaos when some protesters began looting informal traders' stalls and tipping over rubbish bins.

Police used stun grenades to try and disperse demonstrators.

De Lille said Samwu must take responsibility for the violence.

"The criminal and the violent elements and so-called peaceful strikes in our country, it's becoming unacceptable and so we will sue Samwu for any damage that might have occurred."

But the union's Jackson Bozo has denied union members were behind the chaos.

"Stop making these allegations that cannot be found. De Lille went as far as to say that she will sue Samwu. Sue Samwu on what? Coming and making peaceful demands in front of her? What is this?"


Striking workers are expected to return to work on Thursday after the union decided to suspend its industrial action.

Workers had downed tools on Monday over unresolved grievances which included issues relating to unfair dismissals.

At a meeting between De Lille and a Samwu leader, it was agreed that a task team will be set up to deal with worker grievances.

The task team convened its first meeting on Thursday a second meeting has already been scheduled for Friday.

The city's Xanthea Limberg said Samwu leadership and De Lille will then meet again next week.

Bozo said they have notified workers about developments.

He said a decision to end the strike completely will depend on the outcome of next week's discussions.