South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) in KwaZulu-Natal has accused government of failing the workers with the national minimum wage of R20 an hour.

Saftu Deputy Secretary-General Moleko Phakedi led the union’s march in Durban on Wednesday.

Speaking to thousands of workers who took part in the federation’s march in Durban, Phakedi challenged parliamentarians to also accept the R20 an hour wages.

“The national minimum wage is the minimum consensus that was agreed to in 1955 adopted by the ANC as its policy document. Some of the leaders of the movement can’t talk about land when they are supposed to defend the minimum wage. It is as if they are talking about something they don’t know. R20 per hour is less than a burger, R3500 is pocket money for Cyril Ramaphosa. In the least they must make sure all the CEOs in the Republic and parliamentarians for one day, they must go and work for R20 and come back to tell us how did they survived?”

Demonstrators in Cape Town, who have marched against the proposed national minimum wage, say it is unrealistic for government to expect people to live on R3500 a month. Those affected and who took to the streets of the Cape Town CBD say they are struggling to keep their heads above water.

“We don’t have money, so we need money because even R20, no! it is not enough. Everything is expensive, we have kids in school. They have stuff we must give them and then you hardly have food,” says one of the participants.

In the Buffalo City Metro which includes Bhisho, King Williams Town and East London in the Eastern Cape, Saftu’s call for a stay away appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

Taxi ranks, hiking spots and train stations were full of commuters going to work. It appears as though the call for a national stay away in all industries has fallen on deaf ears as the working class has decided to go to work.

As early as six o’clock, passengers at Berlin and Mdantsane areas were filling the train stations and taxi ranks. Some say a day away from work will hit hard on the pocket.