Officials taken hostage by metro workers

Two senior metro officials were taken hostage by protesting temporary municipal workers on Tuesday.

The officials, acting chief financial officer and executive director in the revenue management department, were held overnight and released on Wednesday, the metro said.

Hundreds of temporary metro workers have been protesting in the city for permanent jobs since Monday.

Also read: Two killed in hostage drama

They also demanded better pay.

The workers protested in the city centre outside the KB building in Pretorius Street.

The metro said all municipal services rendered at 373 Pretorius Street were hindered on Wednesday and it was decided to temporarily close all services rendered because of the demonstrations.

The protesters work in the departments of revenue management, electricity, metering, water and waste. Some also deliver final demand notices.

The group has vowed to continue protesting until Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga addressed them.

Some workers claimed they had been working on temporary contracts for more than five years.

Protester Sophy Bapela (32) said she had been working at the municipality as a temporary worker, without any benefits, for three years.

“I have a family of six and I’m the only one who is working – I’m paid about R125 per day.”

“We work under stressful conditions and we are making a lot of money for the municipality,” she said.

Another worker, Robert Masilela said: “We don’t want any talks now. We are tired of negotiation.”

Also read: Another hostage victim identified

Masilela said he had been working as a temporary employee for four years.

“We have been fighting this war for too long and we are not winning at all.”

The protesters blocked vehicles from using Pretorius Street and barred the entrance to the municipality’s electricity and metering offices.

Mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said the acting city manager and the department of corporate and shared services were dealing with the matter.

“We will make pronouncements on progress in due course.”

Tshwane metro police were keeping watch on Wednesday to prevent damage to property.

“The City sincerely apologises for the inconvenience as a result hereof and request customers to make use of alternative third party agents such as Shoprite, Checkers, EFT payments etc”.

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David Matsena
Noweto journalist

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