Ricochet News

VIDEO: 'What new dawn?' Ramaphosa and Trollip bashed at SAFTU strike

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 26, 2018
VIDEO: 'What new dawn?' Ramaphosa and Trollip bashed at SAFTU strike

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro streets were red on Wednesday after hundreds of workers responded to a call  by the one-year-old South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) to down tools and protest against the R20 per hour minimum wage that was introduced as part of the new National Minimum Wage bill in Parliament earlier this month.

The mass strike began at the Vusi Dlamini Square and made its way through Govan Mbeki Avenue to the Port Elizabeth City Hall at Vuyisile Mini Square.

SAFTU was joined by the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU),  National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), SA Public Service Union (SAPSU), South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institution Union (SAPTU), and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) during the march.

Rival union federation, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) did not participate.

No one was safe from the keynote address by NUMSA President, Andrew Chirwa.

He started by denying that there was a "new dawn" as promised when African National Congress (ANC) President, Cyril Ramaphosa, replaced former President Jacob Zuma, early this year.

“There is no new dawn, what we are facing is a crisis brought by our own black leadership that constantly shows that it doesn’t care about the working class and the power.”

Chirwa claimed that the apartheid, as bad as it was, “never insulted the black class with a minimum of R20 per hour as a living wage”.

“A R20 means one loaf of bread and margarine doesn't even come out of that money,” he said.

Chirwa described the new government leadership as a bunch of power-hungry individuals, who are swimming in money and don’t know the pain and the struggle of workers.

“They are giving bosses a license to hire cheap labour while retrenching the working class that is willing to fight for their rights,” he described.

“We are shocked that our own government did this, while all the apartheid government leaders did not even mention this.”

Chirwa described how white people earn better, some 10 or 20 times better - "this R20 is for African Black workers."

He then went on to bash the current Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metro, Athol Trollip, for “running the city like his farm”.

"We get very dismayed when black African workers... put DA in power, put Trollip in power. People like him don't belong in public office, they belong in the farms."

He also defended EFF leader, Julius Malema and the party, saying that they were being targeted because of their stance on land expropriation without compensation.

The unions handed in their memorandum of demands to Mzimkhulu Papu, who was introduced as a messenger of the Municipality.

Some demands in the written in the Memorandum included: scrapping of VAT or reversing it back to 14%; free equal and decolonised public education to all institutions; scrapping of E-tols and a demand that workers get places to stay closer to their workplaces.