5 nabbed for allegedly dousing Pikitup manager with petrol, threatening to set him alight

Five suspects accused of dousing a Pikitup general manager with petrol and threatening to set him alight have been arrested, Gauteng police have confirmed.

The suspects are expected in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court "in due course", spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said on Thursday.

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba in a statement said the official was able to escape after being attacked on Monday.

"Early [on Thursday], the manager was able to positively identify the suspects, who are known to him, from protesters picketing outside Pikitup's offices. The suspects were arrested on the scene and are being detained at the Hillbrow police station," Mashaba said.

"I pray that the authorities in our criminal justice system will ensure that the suspects meet the full might of the law."

Mashaba said this week that the interruptions to Pikitup's refuse removal services over the past two weeks were "without doubt being politically motivated".

Insourcing disagreement

"We have received intelligence from individuals that former temporary contract workers are being approached by political forces in an effort to instigate instability within the City's cleaning services. Over the past two weeks, politically driven protests have taken place outside of Pikitup depots, mostly in Soweto and the Midrand, Diepsloot and Ivory Park areas. These protests have been driven in response to the City's insourcing of contract workers into Pikitup."

He said when the insourcing decision was announced, it was clear that it could only insource people who met certain criteria.

"Clear criteria were agreed to through engagements with key stakeholders in the organised labour and contract worker spaces. The City is deeply sympathetic to the 900 000 people who are without employment in Johannesburg. It is a human tragedy that the multi-party government is determined to resolve," he said.

"We have already begun to produce positive results with Johannesburg achieving job growth of 109 000 in the first two quarters of 2018. The reality, however, is that government cannot be an employer of all those without work, but must focus on growing our economy in such a way that more people find work in our City."

He slammed "political forces" who he said were exploiting "this tragic situation for their narrow political ends" as "sinking to new depths of moral bankruptcy".

"We have begun a full-scale investigation which will lead to the imminent arrests of the organisers of these protests, as Pikitup has now obtained a court order against any further disruptions of their premises or operations.

"I caution those individuals who have partaken in these protests not to be used by a political party for their narrow political benefit. This same political party will not assist you when arrests are effected in future disruptions."

The unrest started on July 26 with protesters demanding that Pikitup employ them as permanent workers.