COSATU to strike over violent crimes in the Western Cape

The Congress of South African trade Unions in the western Cape, with affiliates such as Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA), Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa (TUMSA), South African Communist Party (SACP), and Agricultural Food and Allied Democratic Workers Union (AFADWU), held a media briefing on Wednesday regarding its planned provincial strike on the 4th of August.

COSATU says it submitted a notice regarding violent crimes in the Western Cape, which includes gang violence, substance abuse and crimes against women and children, to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in September 2018.

COSATU’s provincial chair, Motlatsi Tsubane, says they filed a Section 77 of the labour relations act, which allows affected parties to strike if no resolution has been reached, out of desperation, following what they say a decline in safety situations of residents in the province.

The planned strike says COSATU, is to improve the situation for workers and their families and to provide a channel, through legitimate demands.

COSATU’s provincial secretary, Malvern De Bruyn says it had no option but to strike, as different spheres of government failed to agree with the union’s grievances

‘’We are forced to go to NEDLAC, where we cited the national minister of safety and security, Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC, SAPS, SANDF, Security Industry Association, city of Cape Town, Civil Society, they were all part of the discussion.’’

De Bruyn says the parties met on 28 September 2018, 1 November 2018, 1 March 2019, 29 July 2019, 2 September 2019, 122 March 2020, 15 May 2020, 15 July 20202, 9 March 2021.

The affiliates have listed demands they want national government to react on, including:

1.   An end to gang violence in communities

2.   A responsive government that listens to all its people

3.   Government end all corruption

4.   All police stations and station commanders be evaluated by communities

5.   Quarterly community report back meetings are called by all stations commanders

6.   Regular police patrols in industrial areas

7.   Public safety at railway stations

8.   SAPS do more to enforce the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act.

9.   Government fire and charge police officers involved in gang violence

10.                Firearms are removed for communities and banned.


De Bruyn outlined proceedings for the day

‘’We will march from Hanover Street up until the City of Cape town offices to hand over a memorandum to the city, law enforcement agencies. We will then march to the Provincial Legislature where we will hand over the memo to the MEC and Premier. We will then proceed to Parliament to hand over the memorandum to the Speaker and we would love the police minister to be there.’’

‘’We will give them 14 days to respond. If they fail to do so, we will apply for another Section 77 application to ensure we go back and collect our memorandum,’’ added De Bruyn.

Ernest Theron, South African Communist Party Provincial Treasurer, alleges that the City of Cape Town & WCG does not use allocated funds for its intended use

‘’They have been taken people for a ride. If you look at the budget for safety and security which is millions, but if you ask where it is, they don’t know. I think we find farming communities within an urban setting where drugs are kept, GBV, nothing is being done. A lot of talk but no action.’’

DENOSA’s Jaco Van Heerden says health workers at medical facilities has been unsafe to work at. He highlighted the New Somerset Hospital, where two patients and a police officer were shot dead, and the killing of a patient by another patient at Valkenberg Hospital.

TUMSA’s president, Vicky Sampson, says musicians across the country has been affected through violence. Sampson says they want to raise awareness and wants to see action from government

AFADWU’s provincial secretary, Michael Helu, says workers in the agricultural sector feel unsafe in terms of safety and security

‘’You find that people do not have enough beds so service delivery is non-existent so that leads to workers probably stabbed, and unemployed. Furthermore, there’s a lack of resources for workers. In general, in the agricultural sector, safety and security is non-existent for workers, but they are available for their employers.’’

PICTURE - Mitchum George: AFADWU’s provincial secretary, Michael Helu; COSATU’s provincial chair, Motlatsi Tsubane; COSATU’s provincial secretary, Malvern De Bruyn; SACP provincial treasurer, Ernest Theron;TUMSA’s president, Vicky Sampson; DENOSA’s Jaco Van Heerden 

COSATU has urged members to attend the strike. De Bruyn says the union hopes to bring the province to a standstill on  4 August.

‘’We applied for 3 000 to attend the event, but we can’t guarantee this number. We intend to bring the Cape Town to a standstill, to bring the economy to a standstill, so government can see that workers and community are angry and we can’t sit hand folded as leaders and not do something to fight the plight of the vulnerable in the province.

‘’It will be a strike, a stay away and we will march. We however appeal to members to come to Town to show government we are angered. We have called on taxi associations, and all other organisations to get their support,’’ added Malvern De Bruyn, COSATU Provincial Secretary.



Done By: Mitchum George