Johannesburg - It is all systems go for Cosatu leaders and their affiliates on Thursday in their bid to force the government and private sectors to stop the freezing of wages, retrenchments and the sale of state-owned companies.
Various union members will march to government departments and businesses to demand that they fix the economy and open job opportunities to hundreds of people to address growing unemployment in the country.
These leaders have been deployed to all nine provinces and most of them will approach the provincial offices of the Department of Employment and Labour under Minister Thulas Nxesi. In all provinces, Nxesi’s offices are expected to be served a copy of a memorandum detailing the tough economic circumstances facing people living in those provinces.
In Gauteng, the marchers who will gather at Mary Fitzgerald Square will then go to the offices of Gauteng Premier David Makhura to hand over a memorandum. Later on they will move to the Minerals Council in the Joburg CBD to hand over a memorandum about the plight of mineworkers throughout the country.
Cosatu this week announced that it fully supported the unity shown by unions in the mining sector, including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), Solidarity and Uasa, who were co-operating in negotiating a wage increase with Sibanye-Stillwater in Rustenburg.
On Wednesday, NUM also announced that it was throwing its weight behind the upcoming Cosatu socio-economic national strike set to take place on Thursday.
NUM acting general secretary William Mabapa said they were issuing a call to all their members in mining, energy, construction and metal to join the strike.
“They can either join the planned activities across the country or withdraw their labour by staying at home on the day.
“The strike is legally protected and is focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act to fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in, and take seriously the issues that are affecting workers and South Africans in general,” Mabapa said.
In Limpopo, five marches will be held in various regions of the province, including the Vhembe District. In Mpumalanga, Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali will lead a march to the provincial offices of the Department of Employment and Labour at the Nkangala region. Other leaders will lead marches at Ehlanzeni and Gert Sibande regions, which will be led by SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke.
They are expected to hand over a memorandum to a representative of the Chamber of Mines, Chamber of Business and various government officials, especially those responsible for economic development.
In the North West, marches will be held in Mahikeng, Rustenburg and Klerksdorp, where the protesters will visit the legislature, mining companies, Sun International and various chain stores.
Similar protests will be held in the Northern Cape. NUM’s treasurer Mpho Phakedi and Mango Bongaza will lead a march to Premier Zamani Saul and the Human Rights Commissioner.
Sadtu deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi and Bonny Marekwa – Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union’s (Popcru) second deputy president – who both hail from the Northern Cape, will lead marches in Kuruman and Springbok, respectively.
In KwaZulu-Natal, National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) general secretary Zola Saphetha will lead marchers to Employment and Labour offices as well as treasury offices in Pietermaritzburg, while a similar march will be held in Dundee.
In the Western Cape, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi will lead marchers from Hanover Street in Cape Town to the office of the City of Cape Town to hand over a memorandum. Losi will be joined by Cosatu national treasurer Freda Oosthuysen and various leaders of affiliate unions.
In the Eastern Cape, Nehawu president Mzwandile Makwayiba and Nyameka Macanda will lead marchers in Mthatha and Gqeberha, respectively, while other leaders will be in Qonce (King William’s Town) and Komani (Queenstown).
In the Free State, marchers will protest in Welkom, Harrismith, Qwaqwa, Ladybrand, Jagersfontein and Koffiefontein, where they will also hand over a memorandum to an official of the Department of Mineral Resources.