On Wednesday, the labour federation Cosatu took to the streets against state capture and corruption in both the public and private sector. The marches were organised in major centres in four regions in the Eastern Cape. The demands ranged from the institution of an independent judicial commission into state capture, to the firing of SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane.
In Cape Town the march went to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). Among others, Cosatu was demanding that train ticket prices be halved, that more buses and taxis be brought in to service the Cape Flats and townships, and a proper public transport system in rural areas. SACP first deputy secretary, Jeremy Cronin was one of the SACP Ministers who was at the march.
Jeremy Cronin on some of the examples of corruption in the public sector
The Cape Town march went to the provincial government building in Wale street even though the premier Helen Zille had said that she was not going to avail herself to receive the memorandum. Cosatu provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich said that there is no difference between president Zuma and Hellen Zille.
In Johannesburg the strike was used to hit back at those who criticised the timing of the strike by Cosatu. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) had raised concerns about the seriousness of Cosatu with regards to the demands. “Workers should not sacrifice their earnings for a Cosatu leadership which has sold out the working class, just so that it can have access to a corrupt ANC leadership and its patronage networks,” NUMSA said in a statement. Hitting back at the critics, SACP General Secretary, Blade Nzimande, said that the workers who were at the march were concerned about corruption and state capture and that no one was using the workers for their agenda.
Mike Shingange, the First Deputy President of NEHAWU who was deployed in East London delivered his speech in front of the City Hall. Starting his address by saying that the president must go, he continued: “We are tired of folding our arms while the fruits of our freedom are being eroded by the corrupt. We refuse to die in silence as Cosatu, that’s why we are here, ” said Shingange
The march was also used to pronounce Cosatu’s support for Cyril Ramaphosa for the upcoming ANC elective congress.
Cosatu national Treasurer, Freda Oosthuysen, pronouncing the national office bearers’ support for Cyril Ramaphosa
A group of Shoprite workers who joined the protest in Cape Town were also demanding that employers provide safe transport for them at night.
The anti-Zuma sentiment was strong and some protestors were creative about it.
In Cape Town, Tony Ehrenreich read the demands in front of Parliament.