eThekwini Municipality secures court interdict against striking waste workers who are trashing the city

Angry eThekwini Municipality workers dumped dirt and rubble across the N2 north carriageway opposite Prospecton. Picture Andre Beetge Facebook

Angry eThekwini Municipality workers dumped dirt and rubble across the N2 north carriageway opposite Prospecton. Picture Andre Beetge Facebook

Published Feb 29, 2024


As angry eThekwini Municipality workers took the streets for the second day in a row, overthrowing bins and blockading roads and highways with rubbish, the City has gone to the courts to secure a court interdict against the wild-cat strike.

Chaotic scenes have been playing out in the streets of Durban as the public servants demand better wages.

It is understood all city services have come to a halt since Tuesday.

The court interdict comes amid an illegal and unlawful worker strike that began on Tuesday and has had an impact on operations and service delivery around Durban.

Garbage collection and the cleaning of roads have come to a complete stop across the city.

In a statement, the eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said it was deeply worried about the violence, intimidation, and property destruction carried out in the name of the city’s striking workers.

“The interdict against striking employees as well as those that are members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union, prohibits any unlawful conduct, acts of violence and interference with the City’s activities, services, and operations,” Sislana said.

“It further restrains the striking employees from intimidating, harassing, assaulting, threatening or perpetuating acts of violence against employees, service providers or those accessing offices or workstations,“ she added.

The order also mandates employees to comply with their contracts of employment and comply with the Act, as committing unlawful conduct constitutes misconduct, and this could result in disciplinary action.

Additionally, employees are also prohibited from participating in or encouraging unlawful, disruptive, or riotous behaviour that might cause damage to municipal property, infringement of others’ rights, damage to any service delivery vehicles, or hampering, obstructing, or blocking municipal vehicles.

“The municipality emphasises the importance of upholding the rule of law and ensuring the safety and security of residents and its workforce.

“To-date no formal memorandum of demands has been submitted to the City by the union but have raised issues around re-categorisation of the municipality from grade 8 to 10 so that salaries of employees can be on par with those of other metros in the country. We remain committed to resolving labour disputes through constructive dialogue and within the framework of the law.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) criticised the ongoing protests in portions of the city, which it says have resulted in traffic closures and disruptions to critical services.

“We remain concerned about the nature of the protest and its effect on services such as the city wide non-collection of refuse and the inability to respond to repairs to critical services such as water and sanitation. The DA has reliably learnt that the departments affected by the protest include Durban Solid Waste (DSW), Water and Sanitation (EWS), Parks, and Roads.

“We are reliably told that the workers have taken to the streets to protest against the municipality, demanding better pay that is comparable to their counterparts in other metro municipalities, such as Tshwane and Ekurhuleni,” said the party in a statement.

The DA stated that while it supports lawful and peaceful protests, it requests that workers prioritise the citizens.

“The city is on the verge of total collapse. It has suffered enough as a result of the incompetent leadership of the ANC and its partners. There has been a clear vacuum in the city’s leadership and the Mayor, Thomas Kaunda, has dismally failed to provide clear guidance to the municipality.”

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