Tax the people in Clifton and Sea Point - Cosatu

2015-10-07 16:27
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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 - Cosatu's provincial general secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, had strong words for government and higher income groups as union members marched to Parliament on Wednesday.

“We want them to tax the people who live in Clifton and Sea Point,” he demanded, saying workers should be exempted.

“Unemployment and poverty in this country is a tax on poor people in this country. We have to feed our brothers, our grandparents and our family when they are unemployed,” he told the crowd, standing atop the portable stage outside Parliament.

“The white people have great public transport, but our people suffer the most.

“In our shops, they now want to move value added tax from 14% to 17%. We want higher tax, but not the taxing of our workers.

Around 1 000 people joined Cosatu in the relatively peaceful march through Cape Town’s CBD on Wednesday, coinciding with the International Day of Decent Work.

They were joined by many members of the trade union’s provincial and national branches, as well as the South African Communist Party’s Thulas Nxesi, who also addressed the crowd.

Ehrenreich handed the trade union’s new workers’ demands to a representative from the ministry of transport at the end of the march.

Cosatu was joined by members from the National Union of Metalworkers (NUM), the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) and members of the South African Students Congress (Sasco).


Cosatu’s demands were specifically stated in their ‘Memorandum for Integrated Public Transport’, which News24 has seen.

Ehrenreich suggested that there existed a viable solution that would help working class people of the country lower their transport costs.

“We want to make sure that there's an end to e-tolls, and we want a better public transport system.

“Some people spend half their wages from jobs just to get from the outskirts of the city to the city centre. And they didn’t choose to live there; they were forced there by apartheid," he said.

Cosatu’s demands included a moratorium on all retrenchments in all sectors while parties were looking for sustainable solutions, as well as the introduction of progressive taxations, including a wealth tax.

The trade union also demanded a national minimum wage be set to guarantee and to avoid “super exploitation”.

Other demands included:

- A call for government to release a white paper on national health insurance, and urgent attention to be paid to the current health care system;

- A secured energy/electricity supply for households, economic growth and job creation;

- A rejection of a youth employment tax incentive.

“We are building this economy and we must celebrate that. But when things are wrong, we must challenge that,” Ehrenreich concluded.

Memorandum accepted

At this point, Ehrenreich called on a representative of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and Cosatu national treasurer Freda Oosthuysen to co-sign the Cosatu memorandum.

"I am so tempted to join in the song. On behalf of the minister of transport, we accept the memorandum,” the transport minister's representative said.

“We appreciate the discipline you have displayed and we hope you can portray that same discipline as you go back to your homes and workplaces.”

Read more on:    cosatu  |  tony ehrenreich  |  cape town  |  labour  |  protests

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