Local council employees across South Africa have gone on strike over wages in the latest wave of protests to hit the country. On 27 July, the first day of the strike, news sources reported disruptions to rubbish collection, local transport and other services in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and other towns and cities as an estimated 150,000 municipal workers went out on strike to demand a 15 per cent pay rise. They have been offered 11.5 per cent. It is not clear how long the strike is due to last although the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has said it could be indefinite.
The protests come just a few days after South Africans living in poor urban areas protested violently against the lack of essential services such as housing and sanitation and a couple of weeks after construction workers across the country downed tools to demand higher pay, threatening work on the infrastructure for the 2010 football World Cup to be held in South Africa next year. The strikes and unrest are bad news for the new government of Jacob Zuma, which is under pressure to meet election promises of anti-poverty and anti-unemployment against a backdrop of recession.