13 December 2018

South Africa: Man Arrested Following Clash Between Fired Cape Town Myciti Drivers and Police

A man was arrested following an exchange of rocks and stun grenades between fired Cape Town MyCiTi drivers and police, as a council meeting was being held in the Civic Centre on Thursday.

The fired staffers grouped outside the centre and sang as recently installed Mayor Dan Plato addressed council and took questions, which included one on the fate of the fired workers.

They had a one-day work stoppage in October to demand that they work directly for the City, instead of the vehicle operating companies that manage the network of busses on behalf of the City. They also raised complaints about working conditions experienced by some drivers and staff.

The work stoppage dragged on and was considered a wildcat strike, which led to those participating being eventually fired.

On Thursday, as council was winding up its business for the year, a large group of police officers in riot gear descended and formed a cordon in front of the group.

Stepping towards them, the police told them to move back and the group started moving in the direction of Cape Town station and the taxi rank.

The group was moving up the metal steps towards the taxi rank when, suddenly, a few rocks were lobbed in the direction of the police, who immediately fired a number of stun grenades.

They charged up the steps towards the group who disappeared in the stun grenade smoke into the busy taxi rank.

One man was eventually apprehended and cuffed, before being bundled into a police van where his home address was taken down.

Police on the scene were not allowed to speak to the media, but it is understood that the man was apprehended for public violence.

Earlier during the council meeting, Plato replied to a question on the fired drivers' fate. EFF councillor Andrew Arnolds wanted to know why the drivers and support staff could not be hired directly by the City, as was the case in Johannesburg, also led by a DA council.

Plato reiterated the council's stance that contractually they could not hire them directly. However, Plato said he had spoken to the SA Human Rights Commission and the Department of Labour and had also met the drivers and discussed giving them some labour and human resources advice.

The City's position has been that the MyCiTi agreement with the VOCs was negotiated to empower the taxi industry, many of whose staffers were retrained as bus drivers, and that this contract could not be broken.

Source: News24

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