Municipal strike mars Mandela Day

A desperate driver drove over a flower bed to get out of a gate blocked by a refuse truck.

MBOMBELA – Municipal workers embarked on a strike earlier today, blocking the entrance to the civic centre and municipal offices with refuse trucks. Workers from the waste services, parks and cemeteries said they were striking because their overtime pay was due to them.

The parked trucks caused a traffic congestion on the corner of Nel and Rood streets while the workers congregated in the amphitheatre at the entrance to the building. One of the organisers, who would only identify himself as John, told Lowvelder that this was their 67 minutes for Mandela Day – reverting back to the olden days when people used demonstrations to push back against injustice.

The acting municipal manager, Mr Sello Ditsehgo, eventually addressed them. The apparently undertook to get back to the strikers on their pay for overtime they had already worked by Tuesday. They peacefully dispersed, removing the trucks to restore normal traffic flow.

The whole debacle allegedly saw the mayor, Mr Sibusiso Mathonsi, get trapped inside the building where he was attending the Mbombela Children’s Council as part of Mandela Day celebrations. As a result, the rest of his itenerary in Lupisi, Masoyi and Mshadza was delayed.

As they were leaving, one of the strikers said. “The guys at the top take everything for their own bellies while we starve. Without us there is no production, but were only get the peanuts.”

Mireille de Villiers

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