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COSATU strike: Marchers demand Metro stops 'harassing' workers

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 27, 2017
COSATU strike: Marchers demand Metro stops 'harassing' workers

The nationwide strike called on by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) on Wednesday against State Capture, job losses and corruption, saw around 100 members from the trade union federation's affiliates marching to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's offices at City Hall.

For reasons why COSATU was marching, read HERE.

While the nationwide marches were to demand jobs, an end to corruption and to demand that measures be taken to address and prevent State Capture, the Port Elizabeth marchers also handed in a Memorandum of Demands to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip.

According to the protesters, electricity rates are too high in the Bay when compared to other municipalities in the country.

The Memorandum includes demands for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to:

  • Lift all suspensions of Municipal workers that are more than three months;
  • Ensure that tax-payers' monies are not to be wasted on ‘uneccesary legal costs';
  • Stop purging black workers because of their political beliefs;
  • Respect labour laws;
  • Stop harassing workers at waste management;
  • Stop using car trackers of supervising work done by employees; and
  • Stop the harassment of Municipal workers by members of the community.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's petitions manager, Selwyn Willis, accepted the memorandum on behalf of the Mayor and promised to respond within 14 days.

“My job is to receive the petition from you, which I will dispense to the directors, who are responsible for the various departments and will respond to it within 14 days, which is written here,” Willis said.

The protest was also joined by the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi, who said that the protest was indeed about State Capture and people should not be misled into thinking that it is an anti-African National Congress (ANC) march.

“We are here to say down with corruption, state capture and off to jail with the parasites, they must be arrested and account for what they are doing,” he said.

“As regards today, the SACP is happy that there is a change in our movement as it is beginning to play a more active role. We are saying to the comrades, from private sector and the public sector unions, you must know, who is managing your retirement funds and who is investing your retirement fund and where."

He further referred to Guptas as thieves, who manage and steal public funds, which is not acceptable.

“Look now, your money is managed by thieves, the Guptas, and you keep quiet. As a result, you are standing here without any future investments, you cannot allow your retirement fund to be abused.

“We must save the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) from capture and corrupt elements that want to capture workers' retirement funds across the board," Nxesi added.

“If anything toward such a capture becomes successful, workers of the country - black and white, must be united regardless of which union they belong to and must bring the economy to a stop."

The Minister said that the corrupt elements must be driven out of the offices that they have managed to capture at the expense of ordinary South Africans.

“Looting of the workers' and the state resources takes away the Social Grants from the pensioners.

“You talk of Eskom - there are dodgy multibillion deals there; at PRASA and Metro-Rail, they have resorted to using dreadful services for the thousands of workers, who depend on trains to get to work, as a result many are threatened to lose their jobs because the trains are unreliable,” he added.

According to Minister Nxesi, Eskom, Prasa, Metro-Rail, the PIC, SAA and all other parastatals have Gupta footprints written on them. He asked why the Guptas are allowed to have so much control on the country.

“The SACP solidarity with the COSATU is against corruption, looting, parasites in both the state and in the private sector. We are not anti-ANC, we are defending the ANC against those, who have their personal mandates aside from why we put them in office.

He further quoted Nelson Mandela, who said, “If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.”

A second Memorandum of Demands was handed to Melanie Preddy from the Eastern Cape Premier’s office.

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