Pensioners, CWU protest ahead of budget speech

2016-02-24 13:00

Cape Town – Small groups of pensioners and the Communication Workers Union protested close to Parliament on Wednesday, just ahead of the budget speech.

Over 30 CWU members protested the downfall of the South African Post Office, calling for an end to labour brokering.

The group hoped that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would announce an injection of cash into the ailing Post Office during his speech on Wednesday.

CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said they were against the call to privatise state-owned entities.

"The collapse of the post office was due to gross corruption that was there and we were vindicated yesterday by the Public Protector’s report on the issue."

He said workers were exploited and called for contract workers to be made permanent, and for salary increases to be effected immediately.

"You cannot postpone hunger. You cannot tell your stomach to wait until the next year when you are hungry now," he said.

Tshabalala also bemoaned the fact that workers had to bring their own toilet paper to work, and act as security guards.

The group said the ministers seemed to only listen to business concerns, "instead of the concerns of those who put them in office".

Their memorandum was accepted by Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services SOE oversight’s Omega Shelembe.

Ministry spokesperson Siya Qoza said government was already doing quite a bit to stabilise the Post Office.

He said they were encouraged by the fact that the Post Office was working to root out maladministration.

Qoza said what the protesters were looking for, was the same as what they were working towards.

Meanwhile, the elderly protesters wanted the pension redress campaign to be fast-tracked.

A former government employees said they had made various attempts to get speedier redress, but to no avail.

In their memorandum, they said they were disappointed at the disdain shown towards the elderly.

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