Statement by the Executive Mayor of Cape Town,

Statement by the Executive Mayor of Cape Town,
Alderman Patricia de Lille: The City of Cape Town
welcomes Constitutional Court ruling
The City of Cape Town welcomes today’s Constitutional Court ruling which
held that trade unions can be held liable for foreseeable damages caused
by a march organised by a given union. While we respect the right of any
organisation to organise legal strike action and to assemble, these rights
must be balanced against the rights of ordinary citizens, who should not
to be unduly prejudiced by the exercise of this right.
The implication of the judgement is that organisers will now be obliged, at
all times, to take reasonable steps to prevent all conduct that could
potentially cause foreseeable damage. The decision will further afford
effective legal recourse to victims if a gathering becomes destructive and
results in injury, loss of property or life.
Today’s landmark decision also paves the way for the City to formally
pursue a damages claim against SAMWU, where damages in the region of
R100 000 were recorded during their strike action of August 2011.
With a strong possibility of impending strike action in the coming weeks,
the City of Cape Town will continue to respect the constitutionally
protected rights to strike and assemble, but we will not hesitate to claim
compensation for any damaged caused should the need arise.
We are confident, however, that unions will, in light of this judgement,
exercise their rights with greater care and respect for the rights of others.