The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president, Zingiswa Losi, and South African Communist Party (SACP) General Secretary, Solly Mapaila led the march by Saftu and Cosatu in Polokwane, Limpopo. Workers are demanding that government comes up with a plan to resolve the high unemployment rate and high cost of living among others. The march was part of a nationwide shutdown.
Hundreds of workers affiliated with Cosatu and Saftu marched from SABC Park in Polokwane to the office of the Premier, Eskom offices, and the Department of Minerals. Workers say the high unemployment rate, petrol price hike, cost of electricity and low salaries have been affecting their lives.
During the march, several shops were closed in Polokwane CBD. Workers explain the impact of the high cost of living on them.
“It is affecting me a lot because now I don’t have a source of income. Secondly the salaries are being reduced at the companies so in terms of traveling the prices are going up, in most of the households you find out that some of the things are burned because of this load shedding, the electricity gets off without any notice,” a worker explains.
Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi says the high cost of living is frustrating workers.
“The frustration that the workers are feeling on the floor is the fact that they are taking home what they use to get to work does not correspond with the cost of living. I mean the worker has to decide whether today you are going to walk to work or you are going to buy bread,” says Losi.
Saftu provincial spokesperson, Phala wa Phalaka Tshela says rolling blackouts are negatively impacting the workers’ households.
“The load shedding is affecting a lot of people I mean in most households you find these things are burned because of the load-shedding the electricity gets off without any notice and when it gets back things have burnt down. I mean the issue of unemployment, things are just bad in this country,” says Tshela.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) General-Secretary, Solly Mapaila has called on the unity of the workers.
“We must unite working-class power without that you will be divided and your demands will be responded sectoral bit by bit and will not make collective capacity to transform the society and transform property relations as well as work relations,” Mapaila explains.
The workers have given all the concerned departments seven days to come up with a plan to resolve concerns raised during the march.
VIDEO: National Shutdown – Cosatu and SACP lead the strike in Limpopo: Solly Mapaila