Unemployed threaten World Cup

2009-11-13 00:00

THE South African Unemployed People’s Movement (SAUPM) has threatened to bring the country to a grinding halt in 2010 if their demands are not met.

“If our demands are not addressed, South African chances of hosting the 2010 world cup tournament are very slim,” SAUPM general secretary Muzi Mkhize said.

In its memorandum SAUPM threatened to shut down schools in January. “We demand that all members of parliament, including KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize, sacrifice [their salaries for two months] as a contribution towards education for the poor or else there will be no schools next year.”

More than 800 unemployed protesters marched from Alexandra Road in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, bringing traffic to a standstill on Alan Paton Avenue in the city centre on their way to deliver a memorandum of grievances at the premier’s office in Langalibalele Street.

They chanted slogans and carried placards reading “An empty stomach knows no law”, “Hunger causes anger” as well as “No poverty, no crime, give basic income grant”.

Traffic was jammed on both Alan Paton Avenue and Langalibalele Street as the crowd swelled in the area near the market square.

Fewer than 15 police officers armed with rifles were monitoring the march, which continued peacefully.

SAUPM national organiser Lungani Khwela warned the police about their poor showing. “I am surprised that only a few police officers are here; next time you must bring more security forces.”

Before handing over the memorandum, candles were lit and incense burnt by one of the members who prayed to the ancestors.

Mkhize said the ruling party’s promises of “a better life for all” have not been fulfilled.

“Every five years … poor people are bombarded with promises that are never fulfilled. We say enough with empty and false promises and that is why we demand a basic income grant of R1 500, so that we [can] tackle our daily challenges. We want to know how many permanent jobs are available in the province”.

The movement also demands food provision for the festive season. “The MEC for Social Development [Meshack Radebe] recently announced that he has put aside an amount of R150 million towards poverty. We demand that the R150 million be changed into vouchers and be given to the poor people so that we can all enjoy Christmas. No ward councillors should be involved in that process.”

Other issues of concern include corruption in the awarding of tenders, crime and the distribution of houses.

Accepting the memorandum, the premier’s advisor, Cyril Xaba, assured the marchers that their grievances will be addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movement claims to represent unemployed people in all nine provinces of the country. In its previous protest march in Durban in July, members of the movement invaded supermarkets in Durban’s city centre. They were stealing and eating food from the stores.

About 100 members were arrested after branches of Shoprite and Pick n Pay were looted.

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