City to investigate unruly behaviour of striking workers

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg will institute an investigation into the unruly behaviour of some striking workers.

This after the City received disturbing reports that some workers became unruly and started trashing the city. "The City takes such reports seriously and will institute an investigation," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Thousands of municipal workers, belonging to the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) downed tools on Monday, demanding a 15 percent wage increase.

Although the City support workers' rights to protest as enshrined in the Constitution and the Labour Relations Act, it should not impose on other people's rights, the City said.

"In the exercise of this fundamental right, those involved are expected to also recognise the rights of those who have elected not to strike, in particular, those who are essential services personnel," said the City's communications deputy director, Nthatisi Modingoane.

The municipality also warned that striking workers, who are found to have breached the law, will be dealt with accordingly.

The City remains committed to do its best in ensuring that at least minimum service delivery takes place during the strike.

However, services were disrupted at various departments and Municipal Owned Entities (MOEs) including waste collection, Joburg Water, Johannesburg City Parks, Revenue, Customers Services and Metro bus services.

The situation at the City's clinics was reported as positive early in the morning, but some of the 87 clinics later experienced service delivery problems.

Mr Modingoane said the City apologises to its residents who were unable to access services as a result of the strike, but he reiterated that the municipality is committed to resolve the strike as soon as possible.

He said there were contingency plans in place to assist residents to access services. "Those who may find pay-points for water and lights not operating, they are advised to make use of the Easy Pay outlets such as Pick n' Pay; Shoprite Checkers; Woolworths; SA Post Office and major banking institutions.

"These institutions will accept municipal account statements for recording payment," he said.

Regarding the Metro bus services, residents are advised to make alternative travel arrangements and they will be credited for the unused trips.

On waste collection, any visit missed will be conducted the following week, on the regular day of collection. However, those who prefer to use their own transport, may deliver rubbish at any of the 42 garden sites, near their residence.

In clinics, restaurants and hospitals where disease can spread, Mr Modingoane said special arrangements have been made to collect waste regularly.

Cemeteries within the City during the strike are expected to cope with present available graveyards.

Mr Modingoane further said new dates will be set for driving license tests, if candidates were unable to get services, on the date previously arranged.