Cosatu and Saftu National Strike is Not Observed by Workers

image: The Citezen

During yesterday’s national shutdown, workers affiliated with Cosatu and Saftu banded together in Pretoria and other major economic hubs across the country.

Their mission was to bring the fight against rising unemployment and high living costs to the government’s doorstep. Affiliates of Cosatu and Saftu took different routes to the Union Buildings after meeting at Burgers Park in the morning.

However, upon their arrival, union leaders saved the day by agreeing to address the workers from a single platform.

As marchers passed through various intersections on their way to the seat of government to hand over a memorandum of demands to Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, traffic in the city was hampered.

Officers from the SAPS and the Tshwane Metro Police Department kept a close eye on the march in order to maintain order and control traffic on all affected streets.

Workers marched through the streets chanting songs and holding placards depicting socioeconomic issues affecting the cost of living.

Some of the placards carried messages condemning high fuel prices and urging the government to reverse the trend.

Many lamented the fact that the poor had to bear the brunt of the high electricity prices, while also stating that the scourge of poverty and inequality needed to be addressed immediately.

Cosatu first deputy president Mike Shingange addressed the workers at the Union Buildings, urging them to be united in their struggle and to reject the government’s offer of a 2% salary increase.

He spoke at length about the problem of unemployment, particularly among young people who could not afford transportation costs to look for work.

He stated that the affordability of electricity was a societal issue, and he strongly opposed any attempt to privatize Eskom, stating that the entity was not for sale.

“We’ve come because we’re angry.” We’ve come because our future is doomed unless we act. “Our young people’s future is doomed,” Shingange said.

Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of Saftu, stated that his federation would like to unite with Cosatu comrades, but “it is not a unity without principles.”

“We seek the unity of all those who oppose the capitalist system.” “Especially today, we want those who oppose neoliberalism and the austerity program to band together and fight the common enemy – the capitalist system,” he said.

He stated that the enemy of workers was “the government that will not hold the mining corporations accountable.”

Vavi was referring to illegal miners (zama zamas) in Krugersdorp who dug out minerals from non-operational mines abandoned by mining companies.

“We can’t breathe when it costs more than R4 700 to feed a family of four,” he said.

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