Nehawu Parliament protesters turn to rousing hymns

2015-11-12 11:42
Nehawu members protest outside Parliament (Jenni Evans, News24)

Nehawu members protest outside Parliament (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Thursday is expected to be ''do or die'' for Parliament's striking National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) workers, branch secretary Thabang Malusi told a few hundred protesting workers gathered on the precinct.

Malusi told them they must get ready for war, as a crisis meeting between Nehawu and Parliament's secretary Gengezi Mgidlana scheduled for 10:00 was pushed to 11:00.

At times only one uniformed police officer could be seen watching the protesters, who were singing and clapping between the National Council of Provinces building and the Marks building, which houses opposition MPs.

- Read more: Nehawu, Parliament battle to resolve issues

Nehawu workers downed tools on Friday in what Mgidlana said was regarded as unlawful, because they did not declare a dispute over some of the terms of a labour agreement, as is the normal procedure.

An interdict pasted at the entrances to the precinct informed workers that they cannot disrupt proceedings or harm anybody during their dispute.

This was after Wednesday's scenes of stun grenades and angry confrontation with police who tried to remove them.

In the meantime, while they waited for Nehawu's national leadership to arrive for the meeting, they sang a rousing isiXhosa version of the hymn ''What a friend we have in Jesus'' - a seeming apartheid-era tactic where protesters enjoyed a level of reprieve from police if they sang religious songs or prayed during gatherings considered illegal.

''Parliament has got a powerful choir,'' one protester commented.

Mgidlana said Nehawu was trying renegotiate issues such as a performance bonus.

Interdict outside Parliament (Jenni Evans, News24)

Read more on:    nehawu  |  cape town  |  labour  |  parliament 2015  |  protests

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