Cosatu march to bring city to stand­still

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - ZIMASA MATIWANE AND LUNGANI ZUNGU

COSATU has warned that Dur­ban would come to a stand­still when its mem­ber­ship in Kwazulu-na­tal took to the streets on Wed­nes­day to protest against state cap­ture, cor­rup­tion and job losses.

The trade union fed­er­a­tion was bent on send­ing a clear mes­sage to the ANC about toe­ing the al­liance line in the race to suc­ceed Ja­cob Zuma as the party’s next leader.

And Cosatu has re­sorted to us­ing rolling mass ac­tion to make its pres­ence felt, as they did dur­ing Thabo Mbeki’s ten­ure as pres­i­dent.

As part of the na­tion­wide in­dus­trial strike, Cosatu pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Ed­win Mkhize said af­fil­i­ates from var­i­ous sec­tors would join in.

Mkhize said it ex­pected thou­sands of mem­bers to join the strike. He, how­ever, would not be drawn into com­ment­ing about the ex­pected turnout .

Unions af­fil­i­ated to Cosatu in­cluded crit­i­cal in­dus­tries such as health, ed­u­ca­tion, mu­nic­i­pal work­ers, transport, min­ing.

The Demo­cratic Nurs­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion of South Africa, SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers’ Union (Sadtu) and the Po­lice and Pris­ons Civil Rights Union in­di­cated that mem­bers would join the planned mass ac­tion.

“Based on the re­sponse from our pro­vin­cial shop ste­ward’s coun­cil, which we use as a mo­bil­i­sa­tion plat­form, we an­tic­i­pate scores of work­ers lend­ing support.

“Re­ports from our af­fil­i­ates on the work they are do­ing on the ground is promis­ing. We are pos­i­tive it is go­ing to be a suc­cess­ful cam­paign,” Mkhize said.

Mkhize said the twin evils of cor­rup­tion and job losses had cost work­ers their liveli­hoods and robbed peo­ple of much-needed ser­vices.

“The main chal­lenges we fore­see as Cosatu is that if we fail to deal with these is­sues, we are go­ing to face dis­in­vest­ment in our coun­try, where in­vestors will lose con­fi­dence.

“At the end of the day, it is the work­ers who are go­ing to suf­fer,” he said.

He said the ban­ning of labour bro­kers, which the trade union fed­er­a­tion has been call­ing for, was also on the agenda.

“We be­lieve that labour bro­kers have sub­jected many work­ers to poverty. Labour bro­kers don’t cre­ate any em­ploy­ment, they are just a mid­dle­man.

“We don’t want them to be reg­u­lated, we want them be com­pletely banned. We are bring­ing that mat­ter up again as Cosatu,” said Mkhize.

The strike was granted to Cosatu by the Na­tional Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment and Labour Coun­cil.

Ned­lac and a Sec­tion 77 cer­tifi­cate has been granted, which pro­tected work­ers who took part in strike.

The march will start at 9am from King Din­uzulu Park down Dr Pix­ley Kaseme (West) Street to the Dur­ban City Hall.

Per­mis­sion has also been granted by the city.

Sadtu has called on its mem­bers from all re­gions in Kwazulu-na­tal to “paint the city red on Wed­nes­day.”

Msizi Nh­lapho, SACP KZN first deputy sec­re­tary, said, “We will be part of the march and we support the de­mands made by Cosatu 100%. We are mo­bil­is­ing our mem­bers to be part of the march.”

Like Cosatu, the SACP has been call­ing on Zuma to step down as pres­i­dent of the coun­try cit­ing the many con­tro­ver­sies that he has been mired in.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Tha­bani Khu­malo said the na­tion­wide in­dus­trial strike was the labour fed­er­a­tion’s way of show­ing it’s force to the rul­ing party.

Khu­malo said the is­sue of state cap­ture was noth­ing new and that these marches were bound to resur­face as a re­sult of dif­fer­ences in the ANC, SACP and Cosatu tri­par­tite al­liance lead­ing up to the ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ANC and Cosatu reached an all-time low this year af­ter the fed­er­a­tion banned Zuma from speak­ing at its events.

Cosatu de­clared its support for Cyril Ramaphosa to suc­ceed Zuma as ANC pres­i­dent, snub­bing Zuma’s per­ceived pre­ferred can­di­date, for­mer AU chair­pe­son, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Zuma has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of the pub­lic wrath af­ter the sur­fac­ing of the so-called #Gup­taleaks which placed his son, Duduzane, and the Gupta busi­ness fam­ily at the cen­tre of the state cap­ture saga.

This prompted ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Bheki Cele, a strong critic of Zuma to say: “The Gup­tas must go back to where they come from.”

“It’s sim­i­lar to what was hap­pen­ing dur­ing the times of for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki, when Cosatu was not see­ing eye to eye with him. These so-called rolling mass ac­tions hap­pened reg­u­larly.

“Now that Cosatu and the Zu­maled govern­ment have dif­fer­ences, we hear about mass ac­tion.

Khu­malo said the march was a show of strength and a clear mes­sage to the ANC to tow the al­liance line in the suc­ces­sion race.

“Cosatu is send­ing a mes­sage that if the ANC puts Dlamini Zuma in power, it can make this coun­try un­govern­able in the fu­ture.”

ED­WIN MKHIZE

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