‘Cosatu strike will harm econ­omy’

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - MUR­RAY SWART STAFF RE­PORTER

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

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