The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) Secretary-General Zwelinzima Vavi has described Wednesday’s national shutdown as a success.
Saftu and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) handed over a memorandum of demands to government at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Members of trade unions that are affiliated to the two labour federations marched in various towns and cities across the country in protest of the high cost of living.
The memorandum which Saftu and Cosatu handed to the Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele includes a decrease in fuel prices and stricter policies governing retrenchments in the public sector.
Vavi says they acknowledge all the workers who heeded the call to participate in the national shutdown.
“Workers are much stronger coming from this march, sending a message not only to SA workers but also to other workers all over the world that unity suffice. We are happy that so many people got into taxis and busses to find their way into the capital city to make a very important statement.”
“The number of workers staying at home and withdrawing their labour today [Wednesday] is unimaginable. I think that workers today delivered a very powerful [statement] to the government to say fix the problem or exit,” adds Vavi.
Cost of Living Crisis Committee’s Rehad Desai weighs in on the national shutdown:
‘Government will listen to the workers’
Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has assured demonstrators that government will respond to their demands.
Gungubele received the memorandum of demands from the marchers.
Asked whether the governing party is worried about losing power in the 2024 national elections, Gungubele says they are focusing on providing services and improving the lives of the poor.
“Whether we stay in 2024 or not, we will not deal with that if our basis is fear of loss of power. The only way we can stay in 2024 is only when we restore the historic intentions of the ANC of working hard until we turn the economy around,” says Minister Gungubele.
The Minister assures that government will go to every length to reduce the burden on the shoulders of the citizens.-Additional reporting by Tshepiso Moche
In the video below, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele addresses a media briefing: