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Thousands of workers march
Workers gear up for march
Municipal workers go on rampage
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Durban - Scores of striking municipal workers on Thursday brought the Durban city centre to a standstill.
Protesters carrying animal skulls and waving sticks danced through Dr Pixley Ka Seme Street (West Street) while singing "ubaba uyajabula mangishayi bhunu" (my father is happy when I hit the boer) and "dubula ibhunu" (shoot the boer).
About 100 of them emptied bins, leaving streets covered in refuse, and destroyed stalls belonging to hawkers. Shops along the street were closed and traffic backed up.
Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said police closed Dr Pixley Ka Seme because of the protest. Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Cosatu backs strike
The protest began around 11:30, with a large number of police keeping an eye on the group.
They carried placards reading: "No exploitation of municipal workers" and "Implement job evaluation."
Before the SA Municipal Workers' Union members handed their memorandum to a representative of the Ethekwini municipality, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told the crowd the union federation was 100% behind the strike.
"There people who are trying to confuse workers about this strike… I want to make it clear that this is a legal strike. There are people telling workers that this is illegal.
"It is only when municipal workers take to the street that people realise that they are important."
Dlamini said workers should unite to fight against corruption in municipalities as it caused unemployment and lack of decent jobs.
"We also want to finish the issue of labour brokers. Workers under labour brokers have no rights," Dlamini said to cheers.
He encouraged them to be strong and continue striking until their demands were met.
'Who is this?'
After Dlamini's speech, Samwu members responded angrily when Joe Nene, adviser to Mayor Obed Mlaba, attempted to receive the memorandum on behalf of the eThekwini Municipality.
"We want Mlaba or Sutcliffe. Who is this? We don't know him," workers shouted at Nene.
Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo was eventually called to receive the document.
Samwu provincial secretary Jaycee Ncanana said they had a positive turnout at marches in the province.
"About 3 000 people attended the strike in Richards Bay. In Durban they came out in their numbers."
On Friday the municipal workers would meet to discuss a proposal made by their employer, the SA Local Government Association. Workers were also expected to picket on Friday.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe said no strike-related arrests were made.