(Breaking News) Video: Flames, threats as municipal workers rampage

Two palm trees were set alight by the protesters.
Two palm trees were set alight by the protesters.

Traffic officers launched an impromptu strike on Tuesday, due to the municipality’s unwillingness to adhere to a list of demands which included calls for danger allowances for traffic officers and firemen.

The wardens sprayed pepper spray in order to force the public out of the licencing officers, which were placed on lockdown by them.

Today, the municipality was forced to send all office personnel home for their safety, while Mayor Mike Masina and acting Municipal Manager, Mr Mandla Mnguni, were locked in negotiations with shop stewards, who joined the violent protest in solidarity with the traffic officers involved in last Tuesday’s drama, who were served with suspension notices.

“They were given an opportunity to submit why they should not be suspended for their individual parts in last Tuesday’s strike,” a source close to Mayor Mike Masina told the www.mobserver.co.za in the waiting area of his offices.

Armed police officers secured the building and four were stationed outside the Mayor’s office to see that no harm befell him and the municipality’s administrative head.

Traffic officers are demanding a salary increase, danger allowances, uniform overtime arrangements on all public holidays as well as increased overtime.

“Smaller municipalities pay danger allowances to their personnel, it boggles the mind why a large municipality like Steve Tshwete would not afford their emergency services personnel the same perks, there’s simply no consistency in our government today,” another source close to Steve Thswete’s top brass told the www.mobserver.co.za amidst threats hurled at Middelburg Observer journalists.

After breaking the main entrance door to the municipality, violent protesters used bottles of water to force employees and councillors from the council chamber, where a LED meeting was underway.

Meanwhile two palm trees were set alight by a mob outside the licencing offices, the public was barred from entering or leaving, with tractors, solid waste removal trucks, and municipal bakkies blockading all entrances.

Electrical, waste removal and parks employees were all driven from the municipal stores, to the Civic Centre in solidarity with the traffic officers and firemen.

Tensions simmered down around 11:00 though all non protesting municipal employees were sent home.
The outcome of negotiations bewteen the Mayor, Municipal Manager and shop stewards, could not be confirmed before print.

Read previous stories here:

Video: Pepper spray, threats, as traffic officers go on strike

Update: ‘Law enforcers lawless’ MM says

 

 

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Gerhard Rheeder
Journalist

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