TRANSNET says there were 10 “co-ordinated attacks” in the early hours of Friday morning against workers who have chosen not to take part in strike action organised by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) at its Ngqura container terminal near Port Elizabeth.
The company said homes belonging to “colleagues” were petrol-bombed, while two vehicles, also belonging to nonstriking workers, were torched.
This follows two incidents of stoning of houses in Motherwell, a suburb of Port Elizabeth, in the early hours of Thursday morning. Transnet had earlier said this seemed “like a co-ordinated campaign of terror and intimidation”.
The latest incidents brought the number of attacks to 28 in the six weeks since “between a 100 and 150” Numsa workers downed tools on April 25, Transnet said.
“The majority of our colleagues do not belong to Numsa. Transnet condemns in the strongest possible terms the resumption of acts of thuggery, violence and lawlessness against our colleagues who are exercising their right not to take part in the five-week old strike action,” the company said.
“All the cases have been reported to the police and Transnet, working with the provincial police commissioner, has heightened security at all its facilities in the area to protect its employees.”
Transnet said on Friday that Numsa had organised a mass meeting in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, where it “vowed to intensify action against the utility”.
But Numsa’s Eastern Cape regional secretary, Phumzile Nodongwe, said late on Thursday that a meeting organised by the union in Port Elizabeth and attended by about 500 people was only to update union members about the strike.
He was not able to confirm at the time whether violence had resurfaced over the labour action, but confirmed that the strike was continuing.