Trade union federation Cosatu promises a peaceful demonstration when it embarks on a one-day national strike against state capture on Wednesday.
“Though this is a national strike‚ we are not anarchic. We will not be disturbing any services. We are aware that we have the potential to shut down schools‚ transport services and so forth but we won’t do that. People will be able to go to work and continue with their lives without any interruption. We actually condemn any act against the inconvenience of the people‚” said Sizwe Pamla‚ Cosatu national spokesperson.
The federation says that it is in talks with big businesses to allow workers time off to join in the strike on the day.
Pamla is confident that the demonstration will see a huge turnout.
“We expect all Cosatu members‚ the majority of which will turn up‚ and of course members of society to join in the strike. This is not just another state capture protest but one by workers. We have seen them in Cape Town and Pretoria and some by opposition parties‚ but this one is for everyone across the country‚” said Pamla.
In response to a question on whether the federation is fractured or not‚ Pamla said that the union took its time to rebuild itself and it is confident that there are no divisions among its members.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) had labelled the planned strike “an act of desperation” by Cosatu‚ which Pamla vehemently slammed.
“This is laughable because Cosatu is 32 years old and striking is our thing‚ that’s what we do‚ we strike. We used to take them serious but we stopped with that nonsense five years ago. They have at some point tried to come back to the federation. So who is desperate here? I mean‚ five years later they are still talking about us.
“They are struggling to find themselves so all they do is watch over us. We gave them the freedom to be radical‚ now why are they not being radical? They are talking a lot about us because they can see that we have moved past them‚” he said.
Pamla said that Numsa was not invited to join the strike in the first place.
In a statement‚ the general secretary of Numsa‚ Irvin Jim said that the federation is very much a part of the “kleptocracy” which has captured the African National Congress (ANC).
“Cosatu called for all workers to go on strike against state capture and corruption. The irony is that the federation is very much a part of the system of ‘kleptocracy’ and ‘neopatrimonialism’ which has captured the ANC‚” said Jim.
“When Cosatu calls for a strike against state capture‚ they are in fact calling for a strike against themselves because they are part of the very machinery which is being used to oppress workers every day‚” Jim added.
Cosatu said it would make a series of demands during the upcoming strike‚ including that President Jacob Zuma appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to probe state capture‚ as directed by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
The trade union’s calls come amid a backlash against the Gupta family for their alleged role in state capture and shortly after British PR firm Bell Pottinger was implicated in the controversial family’s dealings in South Africa.
Cosatu said the money recovered from those involved in state capture should be redirected to projects that address the plight of workers‚ the working class and the poor.
In Johanneburg people are expected to gather at Cosatu House in Braamfontein at 10 am and march to hand over memorandums to the City of Johannesburg‚ the Labour Department‚ Chamber of Mines‚ FNB and other banks and also the Premier’s office.
Durban members will gather at DinuZulu (Bothas Park) and march to City Hall to hand over a memorandum to the premier.
In Polokwane the designated meeting area will be at the SABC Park and people will march to Shoprite‚ the Premier’s office and Anglo Platinum to hand over memorandums.
In 2014 Cosatu expelled Numsa from the federation.