National Shutdown demonstrators arrive at Union Buildings to hand over the memorandum of demands

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Demonstrators have arrived at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where they are expected to hand over their memorandum of demands to the Presidency.

Thousands of South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) affiliated members embarked on a total national shutdown on Wednesday.

They are unhappy with the rising fuel prices and the high unemployment rate in the country.

A police helicopter is currently hovering around the Union Buildings while Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) are maintaining a strong presence on the ground.

It is still unclear who from the government will receive the memorandum.

VIDEO: Workers hit the streets over the rising cost of living:


SAFTU and COSATU in Limpopo are leading a march in Polokwane on Wednesday against the high unemployment rate and high cost of living among others.

The march started at the SABC Park and move to the office of the Premier.

The COSATU provincial secretary, Gerald Twala, says they’ve resorted to a shutdown after government’s failure to listen to the workers.

Twala says, “The reason of our shutdown is that once workers go to the street it becomes the last resort. We have actually been engaging for a very long time with our government on many socio-economic and work challenges and the government is not listening. We think government is failing to address many of socio-economic challenges faced by our people especially workers in particular.”

North West

In Jouberton near Klerksdorp in the North West, educational and health facilities, as well as taxis, are operating normally despite the national shutdown.

However, COSATU provincial secretary Kopano Konopi says schools will be shut down later in the day, when they start their march to the Employment and Labour Department, to hand over a memorandum.

Schools, clinics and hospitals are operating as normal, and seemingly not bothered by Cosatu’s national shutdown on the economy.

Cosatu says schools will be closed later, but on Wednesday morning, it looks like the shutdown message, seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as many are carrying on with their daily activities.

VIDEO: Strike action and the impact on education:

Additional reporting by  Mahlatse Phaladi and Mpho Lepedi.