From the news desk

MyCiTi – striking workers replaced and busses torched

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With the ongoing “wildcat” strike by MyCiTi bus drivers, the City of Cape Town has come to a decision to replace all striking workers with new staff.

While this has been on the cards for a while, the City has now advertised their intentions.

Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Felicity Purchase said this came after the workers refused to return to work and face disciplinary processes.

“The VOC’s (Vehicle Operating Company) have tried to engage with them and tried to persuade them to come back to work and while many did, the rest were dismissed. They (VOC) have been on a concerted effort to rehire drivers from the public and private sector and they are doing well in that regard,” said Purchase.

According to Purchase, this has caused a fluctuation in service between 85% and 91%. She added that they are hoping to be at 100% by next week.

This effort has however been hampered by the petrol bombing of a MyCiTi bus on Monday night in Woodstock.

“Those who are not going back to work are now getting desperate as more and more of their ex-colleagues have been reemployed and it is their intimidation and continuing aggressive attitude towards the companies and drivers that is resulting in what happened last night (petrol bombing on Monday night),” she said.

When asked as to whether the City has proof that it is indeed ex-workers who have been vandalising busses, Purchase said that SAPS (South African Police Service) were investigating the attacks.

“Well I don’t want to go into the proof or not proof. SAPS are investigating but remember they have made one arrest, so they will make their case.”

Purchase added the demands of the striking workers have not and can not be addressed.

“Their demands can’t be addressed. Some of their demands are not realistic.”

Purchase explained that the City last year made an agreement with workers.

“In May last year after a strike in April, through a collective bargaining agreement with the unions and the bargaining council, they came to an agreement that there would be no more wage strikes until March 2020, so their strike is totally illegal and unprotected.”

Purchase explained that Law Enforcement and Metro Police have been put on the routes that have been subject to criminality.

“Everything that we do now to give added protection to the MyCiTi has unintended consequences. It costs money and those staff deployed there would be pulled back from other areas which means the rest of the residents in Cape Town will now suffer.”

Purchase said this kind of behaviour has too long been accepted in South Africa.

“When we know there are consequences to bad behaviour, then we will start to behave properly. When people have gotten away with these sorts of protests and levels of intimidation then this is the type of behaviour that one might expect.”

Zaahidah Meyer / VOC

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