Cosatu plans mass rolling action
IT’S all systems go for a national strike this Wednesday as Cosatu and the SACP take to the streets to protest state capture and corruption.
More than 250 000 Cosatu members are expected to take part in the 13 national marches, where memoranda will be handed to premiers, big business and Parliament.
The trade union federation had pointed to the collapse of the tripartite alliance, which paved the way for discord in the country’s leadership.
Cosatu has sent a clear message to the ANC about toeing the alliance line in the race to succeed Jacob Zuma as the party’s next leader.
It has resorted to rolling mass action to make its presence felt, as it did during Thabo Mbeki’s tenure as president.
Unions affiliated to Cosatu included critical industries such as health, education, municipal workers, transport and mining.
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the Police and Prisons’ Civil Rights Union (Popcru) indicated that members would join the planned mass action.
The strike was granted to Cosatu by The National Economic Development and Labour Council.
The Nedlac and Section 77 certificate has been granted, which protected striking workers.
Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the strike aimed to highlight the mess being made of the country by its leaders, be they at provincial or national level.
“When people loot they are denying South Africans access to services ... they are robbing people of money that should be used to create job opportunities ... We invited civil society and others to join us in voicing our concerns, to send a clear message to government that we will not stand aside while parastatals continue to drain this country’s fiscus. We will reiterate our call for the ANC to relieve President Zuma of his duties.
“We have also been complaining about ANC policies that have been pro-private sector and anti-poor. If you can mobilise society on a cause, the ANC will have to listen because the society you have gathered to stand against corruption is the same base that the ANC has to report to before 2019.
“You mobilise against unacceptable conduct ... and you show the ANC that this is how it is going to play out if you do not listen to the people. We have now mobilised society to draw a line and say, as voters we will remember this in 2019.”
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the march will be a mechanism whereby society will express its views on governance.
“It helps in putting pressure on the government and ruling party; it might not do more than that, but this is a sensitive time for those campaigning for leadership positions in the ANC who will be looking for endorsements and will be looked at to address these issues.
“This is further increasing the divide between the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP ... At the last election the ANC won with just 53.7% ... Even if they go to 50% they would still ... need another political party to partner with. Once Cosatu and the SACP go their own way, it’ll be below 50%, paving the way for coalition governments in 2019 that have not proved very cohesive ... we are in for a weak government in two years’ time.”
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said the march was a clear message to the ANC to toe the alliance line in the succession race: “Cosatu is sending a message that if the ANC puts Dlamini Zuma is power, they can make this country ungovernable in the future.”
More than 250 000 members are expected to take part in 13 marches
Premier Helen Zille, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille in high spirits at the official opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in the city’s Silo District on Friday. The new museum comprises 100 gallery spaces, and houses the largest collection of contemporary African art on the continent. See page 3