‘Cosatu strike will harm economy’
WHILE it is likely to be business as usual in Kimberley, today’s nationwide strike by Cosatu against state capture and corruption has the potential to do more harm than good.
This is according to Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci) CEO, Sharon Steyn, who said yesterday that despite there being ample justification warranting today’s strike, this mass action had the potential to do more harm than good as the loss of working hours would be detrimental to the economy.
“As business, we are already in a difficult position as a result of the recession and the current economic climate,” Steyn said.
“In reality, the demands that are being made by Cosatu sum up what we are all feeling and I can completely understand the reasoning behind their calls for action. However, I believe by embarking on a strike, albeit a legal one, they are only making the situation worse.
“It’s easy to expect government and business to accept a memorandum but what difference is it really going to make?”
Steyn said that there was likely to be no shortage of support for Cosatu’s provincial march in Kimberley this morning, adding that while there were positives that could be drawn from mass displays of solidarity from the public, these came at a financial premium.
“I’m not sure how many people will be taking time off work to join the march but I’m sure there will be quite a few. Sadly, time is money and not having businesses able to operate normally is going to put the country back even further.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for Cosatu in the Province, Anele Gxoyiya, said it was all systems go for protests across the Northern Cape this morning, with hundreds of demonstrators expected to converge on the Premier’s Office during the march in Kimberley.
“We expect about 1 500 people to join and wish to call on the workers not to stay away but attend the march,” said Gxoyiya.
He added that a memorandum, highlighting incidents specific to the Northern Cape, had been compiled.
“We will highlight a number of incidents that have happened and continue to happen in the Northern Cape where there are instances of corruption both in government and in business,” Gxoyiya said.
“Our strike seeks to condemn the looting of state resources that are meant to provide services to the workers and the poor as well as the creation of decent work.
“We have made a call to our alliance partners as well as civil society organisations to join us in this noble cause.”
Protesters will gather at the Galeshewe Open Air Arena at 8.30am this morning and march, via the Kemo Hotel, to the Premier’s Office, where they will deliver their memorandum to provincial government, big business, Salga and the SAPS.
Sol Plaatje municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, did not foresee any major disruptions to service delivery as a result of the strike.
“As the strike is only one day, it should not have too much of a negative impact on services like water, electricity and sanitation,” Matsie said yesterday.
“The only noticeable impact might be refuse collection but this will only be temporary as things should return to normal by Thursday. We are only expecting minimal effects from this strike.”
Spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education (NCDOE), Geoffrey van der Merwe, said that while there were arrangements in place in the event FULL FORCE: Thousands of Cosatu members are expected to march today against state capture and corruption. of any disruptions, education in the Province was unlikely to suffer any negative effects as a result of today’s mass action.
“The NCDOE is aware of Cosatu’s national strike,” Van der Merwe said. “Due to the timing of this action, it won’t have a negative impact on the education system as most pupils have completed their curriculum coverage and their examinations. However, we have a strike contingency plan in place at the department.”
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson, Livhuwani Mammburu, said yesterday that union members in the Province, many of whom are already involved in a protected strike as labour negotiations continue between workers and Petra Diamonds, would be joining in Cosatu’s march in their numbers this morning.
“The NEC assessed the NUM state of readiness for the national stayaway that has been called by Cosatu. We are satisfied that the message has filtered down to the members,” said Mammburu.
“Shop steward councils and mass meetings have been held throughout all our regions. We are assured that our members will fully heed the call and either join the planned marches or stay at home on Wednesday.
“We expect big business and banks in particular to come out in full force in support of the strike.”
Picture: Danie van der Lith