Strikers flex their muscle with marches across SA

2010-08-27 00:00

LABOUR unions continued to flex their muscles with marches in cities across the country yesterday. In Pietermaritzburg, the march stopped CBD traffic for several hours.

The crowd of around 5 000 workers, some whom had travelled from Durban, painted the city centre red with their union colours during a march that began at Dales Park and ended at Freedom Square.

Anticipating problems, police stood by with rubber bullets and protective gear.

As the police cars led the workers, many city residents climbed on to roofs and looked on from high-rise buildings.

The workers vowed that they will remain on strike until the government accedes to their demands.

“We will not give up. This is the way and we will not back down because that will create a precedent that the government can force the workers to retreat,” said one protester.

Vusi Bhengu of the Congress of South African Students said they plan to disrupt private schools next week.

“We are not learning because our teachers are on strike, but their [ministers’] children in private schools are learning,” he said.

“Next week we will go to those private schools with our township teachers to learn there because they are learning.”

Eugene Hadebe of the KZN Taxi Alliance said his members are also heeding the call by Cosatu to bring the country to its knees next week. “We are calling on our provincial premier to release the money instead of spending on the useless gymnasium they are planning to build.”

Richard Shandu of the Treatment Action Campaign said while the TAC fully supports the strike, it are still concerned about the unnecessary loss of human lives as many HIV patients have not received their medication.

The police described the march as peaceful.

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