Motorists warned to steer clear of Jo'burg CBD

Johannesburg motorists have been warned to steer clear of the CBD on Tuesday as a protest by municipal workers over low wages is set to continue.

Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Inspector Edna Mamonyane said she expected traffic to be disrupted on Bree and Ntemi Piliso Streets.

“The union [South African Municipal Workers’ Union] will gather at the Mary Fitzgerald square in Newtown and leave for the Salga [South African
Local Government] offices in Braamfontein at around 10am.

“They will join Ntemi Piliso from Bree street and march over the Mandela bridge,” she said.

In Braamfontein, protesters will join the march in Jorrissen Street on their way to Biccard Street where the Salga offices are located, said Mamonyane.

After handing over their memorandum to Salga officials, protesters are expected to use Biccard, Simmonds and Jeppe streets on their way back to Mary Fitzgerald square.

Mamonyane warned that protesters may use other routes as well.

Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) went on strike on Monday, after rejecting an 11,5% wage increase offer.

They are demanding a 15% wage increase, a minimum wage of R5 000 per month, a 70% housing loan assistance for a bond up to R300 000 and the filling of vacant posts at municipalities.

Thousands of their members handed over a memorandum of demands to Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo on Monday.

The protest was marred by violence in most parts of the country.

Police had to use rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse protesters when they began throwing rubbish and other items on to the streets and at motorists.

In Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape Police said eight unruly protesters and four police officers were injured during protest action.

Captain Malcolm Pojie said police used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse a group of about 100 SA Samwu members when they began throwing rubbish at motorists.

“Police intervened and protesters then began assaulting police officers by throwing stones at them.
They had to retaliate.”

Two people were arrested for public violence.

Limpopo police said three people were injured in Polokwane when some workers turned violent during a march to municipal offices.

Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said police fired rubber bullets into the crowd.

“They damaged the gate of the municipal entrance and they took all the dustbins and threw it [the rubbish] all around the streets. We intervened and during the process three people were slightly injured.”

Twenty-five people were arrested on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and organising an illegal gathering.

In Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal police took 50 striking workers in for questioning after they allegedly tried to set a police van alight.

“They threw a burning object, but the car was not destroyed,” said Inspector Mbongeni Mdlalose.

In Pretoria, union officials prevented some marchers from stealing from roadside hawkers.

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