Grand Parade traders wary of Cosatu marchers

2015-10-07 12:57
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PICS: Cosatu members strike across SA

Cosatu will embark on the "mother of all stay-aways" when it stages marches in all nine provinces. View pics of the nationwide march here.

Cape Town - As hundreds took part in a Cosatu march for workers rights in central Cape Town on Wednesday, traders at the nearby Grand Parade market expressed caution.

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"We always have to be careful," said Hadi, a fabric trader at the market. "There was a march last year when people were looting in Greenmarket Square. They also came here after and it affected some traders at the bottom (of the Grand Parade market).

"I don't get that feeling so much with the Cosatu marches, they are usually safer. But we are always wary."

Others, though, were not leaving anything to chance.

A crockery trader named Yusuf told News24 that he was packing up his shop early on Wednesday to avoid any post-Cosatu march mishaps.

"It's not so much at the start of the march that it's a problem," Yusuf said from the back of his Volkswagen Kombi.

"It's when the marchers are on their way back to go home and some are a bit drunk that it can cause problems. It also affects the foreign traders a bit more."

A luggage trader, who did not want to be named but confirmed he was not a South African citizen, said he was prepared to pack up if other vendors did the same.

"If they come here and it (looting) happens, I will go," he told News24.

(Paul Herman, News24)

'Not how Cosatu does it'

Cosatu's Western Cape provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, was keen to see a clean trade union march on Wednesday.

Situated at the front of the march to Parliament and flanked by police and Cosatu marshals, Ehrenreich had a message for the marching masses.

"If anyone sees anyone interfering with vendors or people trying to make a living, you tell us and we will tell the police," he told the crowd from atop the moving truck.

"That's not how Cosatu does it."

Ehrenreich earlier told News24 that the trade union hopes to hand their list of demands to Parliament at the end of the march.

The demands include better job protection, a call for the implementation of a national minimum wage, as well as the scrapping of e-tolls. Around 1 000 marchers joined the trade union federation in the march, including NUM and Sactwu members.

Other marches were also taking place simultaneously in all the other major metropolitan areas in the country.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  cape town  |  protests

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