According to NEASA CEO, Gerhard Papenfus, they have been inundated by reports from employers and non-striking employees around the country of severe intimidation, violent behavior, assault and damage to property since the strike begun on Monday, “This strike is without a doubt one of the bloodiest and violent strikes we have seen to date,” Papenfus says. “Whilst every employee has the right to a peaceful strike, the current nature of the NUMSA strike is against the rule of law,” he says, adding that they have received numerous photographs of property that has been destroyed, employees physically assaulted and striking workers brandishing weapons to support the reports of violence and intimidation.
“It is clear that NUMSA has lost control over their members. We are holding them responsible for every life threatening and violent act of their members, which includes the assault by striking workers with sjamboks and knobkieries, damage to property, intimidation of customers and non-striking employees as well as the refusal of entry of replacement labour,” says Johan Pieterse, CEO of PCA. Meanwhile, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has also been criticized for allowing the striking workers to intimidate them. Employers are claiming that SAPS is literally standing by whilst property are being destroyed, without lifting a finger to stop these assaults, and in some cases are even refusing to take down affidavits by injured parties.
Concludes Papenfus : “We condemn the violence which has come to mar and characterize the current NUMSA strike in the strongest possible way. The NUMSA leadership has to address its members and urge them to continue with the strike in a peaceful, orderly and non-violent manner, failing which we will have to take steps to ensure the safety of our members and non-striking workers. The future of the negotiations seem bleak at this stage. Even if we do resume, we do not have much left to offer unions as their demands remains unrealistic and our proposals, aimed at job stimulation and job creation, are point blank rejected.”