Transport union denies unpaid workers sabotaged buses at Tshwane depots

The Star writes that the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has vehemently denied rumours doing the rounds alleging its members employed by the North West Star bus service had sabotaged buses at depots in Tshwane. As of early today, images of a bus depot and a bus with its tyres slashed started doing the rounds, alleging acts of sabotage had been committed by disgruntled employees of North West Star bus service, a subsidiary of the state-owned North West Transport Investment (NTI).

According to the allegations, the irate members had tampered with buses at the Hammanskraal and Mabopane bus depots on Sunday night, as they continued with their unprotected labour action demanding the expulsion of the business rescue practitioner appointed to provincial governments to turn the company around. It is further alleged that workers threatened to disrupt all bus operations until both the Gauteng and North West governments intervened. Amanda Tshemese, spokesperson for Satawu, said allegations that striking workers had sabotaged buses at depots could not be further from the truth.

“All I know is that workers are holding a peaceful protest which has been allowed, considering that they are being left with no salaries for months at a time.” Tshemese said what was even worse was that this had been happening as far back as early 2023, after workers were not paid for over four months. She said even the march to the head of the Transport Department in Pretoria to plead with Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga had proved futile, as workers’ pleas for assistance fell on deaf ears.

“The person appointed to take over the business rescue is not paying workers, instead he is paying his own business associates and friends instead of workers and no one is doing anything about this. “These people had to endure going through the December holidays and start off the new year with no money. I mean these are parents with families to take care of. We want this business rescue person to go with immediate effect,” she added. Questions sent to the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport were yet to be responded to.

by Goitsemang Matlhabe

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