Home | NEWS | Gunshots, blood as cops, workers clash at Illovo

Gunshots, blood as cops, workers clash at Illovo

image Down and out: A police OSSU caspir landed in this position after it failed to negotiate a corner when chasing after rioting Illovo workers yesterday. It was peleted with stones by the workers who are currently on strike.

Shops including Shoprite were closed following the skirmish that occurred at Big Bend where workers from Illovo clashed with the police. A majority of the retail outlets closed in a bid to protect their property as it was evident to most that the infamous Marikana massacre was home

THE ongoing strike at Ubombo Sugar Limited, commonly known as Illovo yesterday turned nasty as police clashed with over 1 000 workers, leaving several people injured.

The small town was turned into a battle field with missiles thrown from every direction.

From morning, workers who are currently demanding a salary increment amongst many demands demonstrated along the streets of the village. 

However, pandemonium erupted shortly after lunch when police and the workers did not agree on the restriction measures taken by the security.

As negotiations were ongoing, the police reportedly asked that workers remain calm so that the process went on peacefully.

However, this triggered the raging workers who demanded that they be left alone as they did not pose any harm to anyone.

Angry workers from the company could hear none from the police as they demanded that they be given the increment. They even mentioned that violence was the way to go as their colleagues from Tambankulu had been granted their increment. 

As the two parties clashed, members of the public had to run for dear life as a similar scene as that of Marikana almost unfolded. 


Police had to use teargas to disperse the workers who portrayed camaraderie as they did not retreat.

It was in this moment that stones were pelted at the police and property destroyed. 

Sadly not only workers were affected by the teargas as some elderly people within the vicinity were also affected.

A teargas canister shot by the police landed next to a disabled person who was close by.

The condition of the person remained unknown as everything happened in haste with many present running for cover.

In an interview with Police Public Relations Officer Wendy Hleta, she confirmed the tension that was witnessed yesterday, stating that it was unfortunate that workers had resolved to destroy property while negotiations were ongoing. 

She said as police they were greatly concerned with the state of affairs as they wanted negotiations to carry on in a calm environment.

She added that it was in this spirit that they also believed that the situation would calm as the negotiations continued, something which would benefit both parties. 

Meanwhile, SAPWU Secretary General Archie Sayed said from what they had gathered from the workers, the bone of contention was the police’s failure to reason with workers.

Sayed said they were also shocked that such commotion had transpired as they too were engaged in consultations. 

...Ossu caspir goes down 
IN the midst of the skirmish involving cops and workers from Illovo, a police caspir was involved in an accident.
The tanker from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) capsised while chasing after workers placing it in the opportune position to be pelted with stones by the angry workers.
On the other hand, Police Public Relations Officer Wendy Hleta confirmed the incident but said it was not however, linked to the strike.
She said it was a traffic incident which only occurred in the vicinity of the strike. 
Shops close down as village up in flames  
BUSINESS yesterday came to a halt as fire was set from every corner of the small complex by angry workers.
Shops including Shoprite were closed following the skirmish that occurred at Big Bend where workers from Illovo clashed with the police.  A majority of the retail outlets closed in a bid to protect their property as it was evident to most that the infamous Marikana massacre was home. 
In the skirmish involving the police and workers, two people were arrested.
However, the possibility of many stood unconfirmed as there were more people chased after by the police.
Senior officers from the Royal Swaziland Police including Deputy Commissioner Khisimusi Ndlovu arrived at the scene to assess the damage.   
Workers burn tyres, bay for manager’s blood 
AS the smoke of burning tyres enveloped the sky, fuming employees from Illovo bayed for the Human Resource Manager’s blood.
The employees were heard singing and shouting, calling the manager’s name. As they demonstrated within the administration block, they would from time to time mistake other senior managers for Jobe Mashwama who is the HR manager.
“Nangu atsi yele,” was a common phrase amongst the employees which attracted immense attention from the multitudes.  
workers went as far as eventually pelting the administration block with stones, fuelling the fight between them and the police.
Police also had to dash for dear life as the workers threw all sorts of missiles at them. 
During the scuffle, an officer from the Correctional Services was assaulted with a knobkerrie and injured on his head. 

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