Roads closed, vehicles set alight in Cape Town protest

03 May, 2018 - 00:05 0 Views
Roads closed, vehicles set alight in Cape Town protest

The Chronicle

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Protesters have barricaded several roads, damaged property and set a truck alight in Cape Town yesterday.

Jakes Gerwel Drive near Mitchells Plain and Highlands Drive have been closed off.

City of Cape Town law enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said Weltevreden, Morgenster, Varkensvlei and Fulan had also been closed off.

Dyason said the roads had been barricaded by protesters who pushed two large containers into the road. Shops and a taxi had also been stoned.

“The reason for the protest is unclear, but we have emergency services on the scene,” Dyason said.

According to Dyason, an ATM at a Caltex garage and fruit and vegetable store were damaged.

In Johannesburg, the N12 between Lenasia and the N1 near Grasmere tollgate had been re-opened following earlier protests.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said officers had also cleared the N17 of burning tyres and rocks.

Meanwhile, there was fresh hope for commuters dealing with Day 15 of the national bus strike, as unions and employers agreed to meet again to try and break the deadlock, the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBC) said yesterday.

“It’s D-Day,” said SARPBC secretary general Gary Wilson, explaining that a meeting was set for 10:00 today in Gauteng.

SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela that, after being given an ultimatum last week by employers that they should accept the latest offer, or the lower one would kick in again, talks had broken down.

The last offer before the ultimatum was a 9% increase for the first year, and 8% for the second year.

On Thursday last week, News24 reported that companies were threatening to revert to their  original wage offer of 8% for this year and 8.5% for 2019.
This was in spite of intervention by the ministers of labour and transport, Mildred Oliphant and Blade Nzimande.

“Obviously that was an ultimatum,” Sabela said.

However, the union met on Monday to discuss the situation, and wrote to the SARPBC to ask the secretary general to convene a meeting between the parties again.

Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu) general secretary Tony Franks told News24: “We want to resolve it. The public have a right to get the service.”

Towu represents mainly Golden Arrow Bus Services drivers and bus engineers in Cape Town, he said.

Franks said that workers had already come down from their demand of a 12 percent salary increase.

The biggest sticking points, he explained, were the half a percentage point, and the employers’ push for the increase to start on May 1, not April 1.
In the meantime, Wilson expressed concern over attacks on some buses.

“It’s getting out of hand,” he said, adding that he hoped that Thursday’s talks would not just be a repetition of previous positions.

“Both sides, in fact, have to come with an open mind.”

In the meantime, bus companies affected by the strike have continued informing their customers that there is still no service. — News24

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