The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) staged protests in Chamdor, outside Krugersdorp, on 14 July. Perdeby photographer JP Nathrass, who was photographing the protest, was attacked by strikers.

Nathrass arrived at 07:00 and found no police present. An unidentified protester confronted Nathrass, calling him a “bloody agent.” Nathrass decided to leave the area and return when the police had arrived.

At approximately 11:00 Nathrass returned to find a different group of protesters. “There were women and older men, where earlier it was just younger people,” Nathrass said. “I parked up the street and explained to a police officer that I am a student journalist and would like to photograph the strikes.”

After requesting identification, the officer instructed Nathrass to speak to the leader of the group. “They said it was fine, but they didn’t want their faces in the photographs,” Nathrass said. “I went back to my car to fetch my camera and the younger people at the back of the protest began saying that I couldn’t take pictures.”

According to Nathrass, the group seemed agitated by his presence and a second unidentified protester said to him that they “don’t need [his] f****** pictures.” The man then attacked Nathrass.

“He hit me with a knopkierie and I dropped my camera. As I was picking it up, he punched me,” Nathrass explained.

The crowd pulled the man away and the police arrested him. The man was released when Nathrass said he did not want to press charges. Nathrass sustained minor injuries to his face.

The Citizen reported that two people were injured when a supervisor at an engineering company in Krugersdorp allegedly shot at striking protesters. In addition, four protesters were injured when police fired rubber bullets at the strikers.

NUMSA embarked on mass action against engineering and steel firms in the beginning of July. The union was demanding a 13% wage increase. Strikers ended the two-week strike when they accepted the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa’s offer of a 10% wage increase.

Photo: News24

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