/ 3 June 2008

Six strikers shot and wounded in Ekurhuleni

Two striking municipal workers were wounded when Ekurhuleni metro police fired shots in Boksburg and four others were shot in clashes with security guards in Kempton Park on Tuesday, police said.

Police Captain Mack Mngomezulu said about 300 workers had been picketing outside the Boksburg municipality when police opened fire.

”Police opened fire to disperse the crowd and two people were shot in the leg. The two men in their fifties were taken to OR Tambo hospital for medical treatment,” he said.

Two cases of attempted murder have been opened.

In a separate incident at the Kempton Park Civic Centre it is alleged that striking workers pelted private security guards — known as the Red Ants — with stones.

Ekurhuleni metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago said the Red Ants were being intimidated by protesters.

”The Red Ants fired pellets to disperse the crowd. Four people were injured and taken to hospital.”

On Monday, two people were wounded when the Red Ants opened fire on the striking workers in Kempton Park.

”One was shot in the stomach and the other one in the hand. A case of attempted murder has been opened, ” said Inspector Veli Nhlapo.

Earlier, the Ekurhuleni municipality said the week-long strike by members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) was ”not a crisis”.

Spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said the estimated 2 000 workers on strike were not from essential services and the strike had not had a major impact.

”It is very difficult to determine exactly how many workers are striking but I do not think that it is more than 2 000.

Samwu said that of a workforce of about 17 000, more than 8 000 were on strike.

Samwu members in Ekurhuleni downed tools last week, demanding that Tembisa Waste Project employees become permanent staff.

Workers have also asked to be paid on the same grade as councillors. – Sapa