Pretoria: Cabinet has expressed concern over the lawlessness, violence and intimidation that it says has continued to mar the democratic right of workers to strike.
The strike in the transport sector has been marked by incidents of violence and intimidation since the strike began three weeks ago.
“It is a fact that as a democracy, the right to strike is a defined right in South Africa that obligates the strikers to observe that they cannot encroach on other people’s rights as they enjoy theirs,” said Acting Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Richard Baloyi at a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday.
In that regard, Cabinet has warned that violence and lawlessness would not be tolerated.
“No one should be intimidated to take or not take and industrial action in a democracy,” the minister said, adding that no one should resort to any form of violence against people or property as a form of striking or protest.
Baloyi said existing channels must be used and the law must prevail, adding that the struggle for freedom and democracy ensured that the laws provide space for protected peaceful strikes.
He called on the striking workers to utilise existing channels with unions to address grievances and wage negotiations in a manner that was within the law.
“It is, among others, these illegal strike actions and the accompanying violence that is not helping the country’s image internationally and is contributing to the already existing challenges facing our economy and society,” said Baloyi.
Earlier today, President Jacob Zuma also strongly condemned the violence that has characterised industrial action.
“Violence should be condemned. We have mechanisms that allow people to engage on labour issues, violence should never be tolerated… Some of those trucks that were torched and destroyed actually belonged to small business”.
He was speaking at a Black Business Council breakfast hosted by the New Age newspaper and the SABC.