Cosatu's nationwide strike gets under way
Johannesburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) nationwide protest against the e-tolling system and labour brokers is set to start on Wednesday morning.
Support has grown for the protest with labour unions and political parties pledging to join the marches.
Cosatu expected at least 100 000 people to take part in 32 marches across the country. The major event would take place in Johannesburg's central business district.
It also expected its provincial bodies, essential services workers, Eskom workers, teachers, pupils, and other unions to join the strike.
On Wednesday, the Mpumalanga branch of the African National Congress Youth League said it supported the marches.
"The ANC Youth League of Mpumalanga and the entire brigade of young people across the province wishes to express its unwavering support to the march against labour brokering across all sectors of the government and the private sector," acting provincial secretary Clarence Maseko said.
The SA Students Congress said it supported the marches because they were consistent with its bias to the working class and the poor.
"We believe that both labour broking and the e-tolling system are products of a neo-liberal offensive by capital to accumulate at the expense of the South African working class," it said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Cosatu retracted its invitation to the Democratic Alliance to participate in Wednesday's marches.
Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said members of all parties were welcome to join, but "we never invited any party leaders".
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said the party did not support Cosatu's call to ban labour brokers, and was opposed to the impact the protest could have on schooling.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said strike action was being used sparingly as it was a huge sacrifice for workers to lose a day's wages.
He said that if the government went ahead with e-tolling on Gauteng freeways after the strike, Cosatu would organise more strikes or other "creative ways" to halt the system.
Vavi said embattled ANCYL president Julius Malema, would join the strike.
The department of basic education said that Wednesday was a normal school day and that teachers and pupils were expected to arrive for school as usual.
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