All systems go for Thursday's strike, says COSATU

The Congress of South Africa Trade Union (COSATU) in the Western Cape, along with its affiliates, says its all systems go for Thursday's strike against violent crime in the province as well as the high fuel price in the country.

The union held its shop steward council meeting on Saturday, whereby 400 people attended the gathering in preparation for the 4th of August.

COSATU's provincial chairperson, Motlatsi Tsubane says they received positive feedback from members.

“In our council we concentrated on the readiness of affiliates for the march set to take place on the 4th of August, where we received a very positive response from the structures. We are also very bust engaging other stakeholders whom we want to be part of our march on 4 August. We have the South African Communist Party on board, who will be assisting; we also have our communities and other community structures.”

“We are ready for the 4th of August. The council today [Saturday] was a very successful council. That [The shop stewards council meeting] is always the platform  we are using in terms of reflecting on issues as workers,” added Tsubane.

COSATU's Secretary-General, Malvern De Bruyn says close to 10 000 people will attend Thursday’s strike.

“As COSATU, we are quite confident in the numbers. We had close to 400 people attending the council meeting and this is an indication of the readiness of COSATU. Our intention is to bring Cape Town to a standstill on Thursday because workers are angry. The march will be a success. We expect close to 10 000 people to march against the current crisis in our country.”

“We will march against the high fuel prices in the country, although the Section 77 talks about violent crimes, we have included the fuel hike as well,” he added.

De Bruyn says government needs to do more to eradicate crime in the province.

“We are telling government they must come to the party. They must really review the high petroleum prices, because workers are mostly affected by this. It is the poorest of the poor that’s affected.”.

The Secretary-General outlined the plan for the day.

“Members will start to gather in Hanover Street, Cape Town, from 8a.m. We will then march from 9a.m to the City of Cape town offices to hand over a memorandum to officials. We will then march to the Provincial Legislature where we will hand over a memorandum to the Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen and Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde. We will then proceed to Parliament to hand over the memorandum to the Speaker and we would love the police minister to be there, as well. We expect to disburse by 3p.m. We are confident and civil society will join is in their numbers,” said COSATU's Secretary-General, Malvern De Bruyn.

De Bruyn says the strike on Thursday is to bring Cape Town to a standstill, as government let them no choice but to down tool, as it’s the only option, says De Bruyn, in order for action to be taken.

“The intention is not to harm the economy, but that is the only tool we have as workers, to show our anger and frustration.”

The Communications Worker’s Union's (CWU) provincial secretary, Wayne Bredenkamp says government needs better interventions to combat crime.

“The issue of crime goes beyond our workplace. It infects and affects our families as well. Government needs to come to the party. They are failing to bring the crime rate down, but they are also adding to it, because if you look at the increase at patrol – it brings a new dimension of crime as it’s a criminal element whereby they are targeting people's car by siphoning patrol out of their tanks.”

“Government is creating an environment for crimes to increase in different forms. They are not just failing the workers, but the workers' families as well. We find that because workers are struggling to engage with employers for an increase in salaries they try and get things to prevent crime from home,” added Bredenkamp.

The provincial secretary echoed COSATU's Malvern Dr Bruyn's sentiments saying the aim of the day is not to harm the economy.

“We do not want to harm the economy, we just want government to put measures in place that will assist and help us - Not just as workers,but the ordinary person on the street as well.”

“We mobilized our members and the feedback we received is that it definitely affects them and their families and one thing they are willing to loose is a day’s salary in this. We are in support for our federation,” he added.

CWU's provincial chairman, Riedewaan Vermuelen described crime as a business.

“Crime has always been there, but not as bad as it is now. Crime is like a business – at prisons, gangsterism runs the prison cells and the outside gang is in colloboration with those inside. Without crime, you do not need police prisons, lawyers, judges, etc.”

“As workers we looked at where is the Crime and it is mostly infront of our doorstep. You leave in fear not knowing whether you will return, added Vermuelen.

He says the main cause for crime is unemployment as many resort to other source of income, albeit illegally.

“Our duties as workers is try and push government to hear our plea, because our children don’t make it to matric, they get killed on the sports round, in the school, in their own backyard. We need to establish ourselves.”

COSATU says the City of Cape Town, Provincial Government and Parliament has 14 days to respond to their list of demands.


PICTURE: Mitchum George - From left: Riedewaan Vermeulen (CWU Provincial chairman); Malvern De Bruyn (COSATU Secretary-General); Wayne Bredenkamp (CWU provincial secretary); Motlatsi Tsubane (COSATU provincial chairperson)

Done By: Mitchum George


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