Chaos as Bfn City Hall burns

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PHOTO: OFM

There was chaos at the Bloemfontein City Hall this evening as police threw stun grenades at a rowdy crowd who had allegedly set the hall’s kitchen area on fire.

Following the intervention by the police, members of the South African Municipal Worker’s Union (Samwu) quickly dispersed while a few were arrested by the police and thrown into a police van. Police struggled to gain entry into the Hall as the members had locked the doors of the City Hall from the inside.

The Samwu members had gathered at the hall since 3 o’clock this afternoon as they were scheduled to meet with their local president, who was to inform them on the latest developments regarding the ongoing talks between the union and the Mangaung Metro Municipality’s management.

A Samwu member who asked not to be named said the members had heard rumours that about 40 shop stewards and over 100 employees were to be dismissed from their work duties based on video footage the municipality gathered on those who participated in the recent three-week-long strike.

Moments before smoke started coming out of the Bloemfontein City Hall, while workers were gathered waiting for the local president to address them. PHOTO: PULANE CHOANE

It is still unclear who started the fire in the kitchen as well as another fire in the refuse tins at the offices of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) office across the street from the City Hall.

Provincial chairperson of the Union, Congo Matshepe, could not be reached for comment, while Mangaung Metro Municipality spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, who was also at the scene while the fire brigade tried to put out the fire, said he could not comment on the incident as he had also just arrived at the scene.

Khedama said he was outraged by the incident and could not believe that the members would do something like this as the hall holds historic value for the Bloemfontein community. Emergency services spokesperson, Sipho Towa said no injuries from the incident were reported.

Emergency services spokesperson, Sipho Towa said no injuries from the incident were reported.

This story is still developing and Bloemfontein Courant will update you as more details emerge.

Pulane Choane- Courant News