Workers across the country heeded the call by Zwelinzima Vavi’s new kid on the block, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to strike over the planned introduction of a R20 an hour National Minimum Wage in the country.
In major towns, many shops were closed and the usual hustle and bustle of traffic on the streets was nowhere to be seen.
In Johannesburg, workers clad in red poured into the city centre from different directions – a scene reminiscent of the old Congress of South African Trade Union days.
Zwelinzima Vavi, who was unceremoniously booted out of Cosatu a few years ago, was impressed claiming that workers from Cosatu and other rival trade union federations had ignored their leaders’ decision not to join the strike.
A memorandum of demands was delivered to the Gauteng Premier’s Office, the Chamber of Mines and the local Department of Labour.
In Bloemfontein, there was another big turnout. Workers marched to the Department of Labour in the Bloemfontein CBD.
President Cyril Ramaphosa came under criticism for supporting the implementation of the National Minimum Wage.
In Port Elizabeth, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) heartland, the automotive industry was hardest hit.
Production came to a standstill at VW in Uitenhage while the Isuzu and Ford motor plants ran limited operations. Striking workers marched to the City Hall to deliver their memorandum.
In Cape Town, workers there also came out in their numbers. In Limpopo, thousands gathered at the SABC Park in Polokwane. They marched to the Departments of Education, Labour and Social Development.
In Durban, Saftu members painted the town red venting their frustration over the proposed national minimum wage and labour law amendments. They also decried Saftu’s exclusion from Nedlac. With that, Saftu had pulled off its much anticipated break-out national protest action.
This is a show of muscle by Zwelinzima Vavi and his disciples who followed him out of Cosatu.
Minimum Wage App
The National Minimum Wage Act, 2017 is set to be implemented in May 2018. However, according to the Department of Labour, the process could be delayed by one or two months.
SABC Digital News and OpenUp (formerly Code for South Africa) has partnered to develop a Minimum Wage App that will give answers to the question: “Can South Africans survive on R3 500?”
Where does the information come from?
OpenUp has used the following data sources:
- Stats SA “Poverty Trends in South Africa” report
- Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) “Food Price Barometer“
- Stats SA “Income and Expenditure of Households Survey”
How is it calculated?
The money available for food is calculated by subtracting the money used for other expenses from household income. It could be said that it comes after these expenses, though they are actually in conjunction with each other.