Small groups of protesters at Parliament on Budget day

2016-02-24 16:04
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - A series of small protests were held outside and near Parliament on Budget Day, in contrast to the massive student uprising which descended on the institution during the Medium Term Budget last year.

Three were given permission to protest - Equal Education, the Government Employees Pension Scheme, and the Communication Workers Union.

When Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan started his budget presentation with the customary "Madam Speaker", about nine people from the Progressive Youth Movement protested outside, completely outnumbered by police.

One of its members, Abraham Agulhas, said they had not applied for permission, but police said they could continue if they kept the group at less than 15 people.

Under the trees, one of the nine kept spirits up by singing through a megaphone. 

Equal Education arrived at the same time but were turned away from the coveted spot under the statue of Louis Botha by police who said their permit was for Church Square.

The spirited group of about 35 people, including two toddlers with their grandmothers, waved banners saying they were against privatisation and wanted mud schools to go.

Earlier, about 30 protesters from the Communication Workers Union called for the SA Post Office to get a life-saving shot of money.

CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said they wanted labour brokering to end and for contract workers to be made permanent.

They were against privatising state-owned entitites (SOEs), a possibility raised by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address.

Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services SOE oversight’s Omega Shelembe accepted their memorandum.

Ministry spokesperson Siya Qoza said government was already working on stabilising the Post Office.

The GEPS protesters wanted the pension redress campaign to be fast-tracked and were disappointed at the poor treatment of the elderly.

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