– Danie Keet. Above: Municipal workers protesting. Photo: Francois Lombard.

Unlike what happened in Stellenbosch on 27 July with the protest action running havoc in town, 45 arrests were made elsewhere in Cape Town.

The Western Cape minister of community safety, Albert Fritz, welcomed the 45 arrests of persons inciting public violence during protest action yesterday. Fritz again called on residents in the Western Cape to remain calm, refrain from public violence and adhere to the lockdown regulations, amidst threats of protest action.

Acts of public violence included stone throwing, tire burning, road barricades and a petrol bomb. In total, there were 45 arrests made on Monday.

A wheelie bin on fire. Photo: Francois Lombard.

A wheelie bin on fire. Photo: Francois Lombard.

A crowd of protesters in Plein Street.

A crowd of protesters in Plein Street.

These were: 7 were made in Steenberg and Bishop Lavis, 12 were made in Bellville South and 26 were made in Mamre and Atlantis.

Over the past week there have been several protests concerning service delivery, housing, the safety of farmers and the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. Whilst some of have been peaceful, others have not and have led to destruction of property, both state and private, physical assault, barricading of roads, burglary, looting liquor stores, land invasions and stone throwing.

“I condemn public violence in the strongest terms. Acts of public violence amount to vandalism and thuggery, which seek to further disrupt and destroy already vulnerable communities,” Fritz said.

“I question the motives behind these acts of violence and call on communities to stand united against self-appointed leaders, who do not have the wellbeing of the community at heart.”

“The destruction of public property impacts our poor and vulnerable residents the most and cannot be justified in a Constitutional Democracy. It is evident that a smaller group of inciters are leading these protests and pretending to speak for the masses. In doing so, they are preying on the plight of the most vulnerable in society who will suffer the infrastructure and services lost due to protest action. We must stand together and condemn such conduct whenever it occurs.”

Anyone who has knowledge of incidents of public violence and the conveners of such must immediately come forward and report such to their local SAPS. Alternatively, you can dial 086 001 0111 or send a tip-off using the MySAPS cellphone applications.

Stellenbosch Municipality condemned the protest action by municipal workers when a group of municipal workers participated in an illegal protest action in the Stellenbosch CBD. The workers are unhappy about not receiving a salary increase.

“National Treasury recommended to municipalities not to implement salary increases for municipal officials. Taking into consideration the negotiations happening at a national level between SALGA and the Local Government Bargaining Council as well as the economic hardships facing the country due to Covid-19 and the national lockdown, National Treasury has requested that no municipality should implement salary increases, pending the outcome of the SALGA negotiations. The municipality applied for an exemption application in terms of the collective agreement. The municipality will abide by the outcome of the exemption process, subject to the national process as indicated above,” Stellenbosch municipal spokesperson Stuart Grobbelaar said in a statement.

“Appropriate action will be taken against anyone found guilty of destroying property. We will continue with open and fair discussions with the aggrieved officials and unions whilst we await the decision from a national level.”

Andre Pelser, former chairman of the Stellenbosch Ratepayers Association, condemned the incident.

“I think law enforcers should act against the people throwing rubbish in the streets. At the same time I feel it is unacceptable that the increase in workers’ salaries, currently still subject to SALGA negotiations, are withheld on instruction by the national treasury while well-renumerated officials and council members receive their increases and bonuses.”

“The impression created with ordinary workers is that the better paid officials in government are being looked after and they are discriminated against. This is a recipe for continued protest action  and accompanying disturbance and destruction. Stellenbosch should take the lead in fair performance and to communicate better if they want to defend these adjustments to salaries,” he said.