Cosatu, Saftu events to celebrate May Day

2018-05-01 06:58
(File, Cosatu)

(File, Cosatu)

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South African workers must unite against the common enemy: Monopoly capital.

This was the message of trade union federation Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini ahead of Workers' Day. Cosatu and its rival, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), will hold May Day rallies across the country.

"We call upon all workers to work together. Their enemy is one: Monopoly capital," Dlamini said at a press conference on Monday ahead of Cosatu's flagship event in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday. He said it should not happen that Workers' Day becomes an occasion for a confrontation between workers.

The federation would focus on its own activities, he said.

Following the December conference of its alliance partner the ANC, where the rallying cry was unity, the theme for Cosatu's May Day celebrations will be "building unity and cohesion of Cosatu to advance the national democratic revolution".

Last week, Cosatu said in a statement that it supported government's efforts "to kick-start our economy".

However, it does have a long list of concerns and demands, with unemployment a large concern and the demand for "quality economic growth that will be more inclusive" encapsulating most of its other demands.

'Starvation' minimum wage

Meanwhile, Saftu, which held a countrywide strike last week, will also hold May Day rallies across the country. 

On Monday Saftu said in a statement that it "joins hands with millions of workers across the world to celebrate May Day".

It did, however, have some criticism for Cosatu and its other rivals, saying it was "incensed by Cosatu, Nactu (National Council of Trade Unions) and Fedusa (Federation of Unions of South Africa) agreeing to a starvation national minimum wage which legitimises poverty and entrenches the wage gap we inherited from the apartheid racist dictatorship".

Saftu also raised its concerns about unemployment and railed against South Africa's high levels of inequality.

"We are going to continue with our campaign to get the National Minimum Wage Bill scrapped and to fight for a living minimum on which workers and their families can have a decent life," reads the statement.

"Inequality is equally stark in the share of the social wage. Top-quality education, healthcare, housing and transport are available for the rich minority. The poor majority have to suffer underfunded schools, slum housing, understaffed hospitals and overcrowded and dangerous public transport.

"All these problems are made even worse for the workers and the poor by the corruption by political and business leaders in both the private and public sectors, which robs people of the money desperately need to improve these services."

The rallies' details are as follows:


The Eastern Cape will host Cosatu's main rally which will be in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality's Isaac Wolfson Stadium. Speakers include Dlamini, SACP leader Blade Nzimande and President Cyril Ramaphosa. The rally will start at 08:00 at Njoli Square in KwaZakhele and proceed at 09:00 to KwaZakhele police station to hand over a memorandum to a representative of the municipality and the department of labour. At 10:00 the march will proceed to the stadium.

Limpopo's events will start with the painting of two crèches in Mahwelereng from 07:00 to 09:00. There will then be a rally at Mokopane's Mahwereleng Stadium. Cosatu's first deputy president Tyotyo James will be among the speakers.

The Northern Cape will have three events. A bittersweet mood is expected at the province's May Day celebrations as Tuesday marks fifteen years since the Soulspoort Dam (now Sol Plaatje Dam) bus disaster when a bus carrying about sixty municipal workers employed at Sol Plaatje municipality plunged into the dam in Bethlehem on its way to a Cosatu rally in Qwaqwa, Free State.

Rallies will be held at Kimberley's Galeshewe Open Air Arena, Absa Plain in Kuruman and Die Kraal open area in Calvinia. 

KwaZulu-Natal will have four rallies: Durban's Curries Fountain, Kokstad's Community Hall and Nquthu's V A Makhoba Hall. There will be a march from Mangozi's Mpiyakhe Sports Ground to Arts Centre, where a rally will be held. 

Gauteng's event will be in Vanderbijlpark's Bophelong Stadium, where Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali will be among the speakers. 

In the Western Cape, Cosatu will march from Keizersgracht Street through the CBD. 

In Mpumalanga, Cosatu deputy secretary general Solly Phetoe will be among the speakers in the Mpumalanga Stadium in Ermelo. 

In the Free State's QwaQwa region at Phuthaditjhaba workers will gather at Freedom Square and march to Maluti A Phofung municipal office.

In the North West at the Mahikeng Rugby Stadium, North West Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi will be among the speakers.


All Saftu rallies will start at 10:00.

The Free State will host Saftu's main national rally at the Vista Arena at the  University of the Free State. Saftu president Mac Chavalala will be the main speaker. 

The rally in Durban will start with a march from Botha's Place to City Hall. Saftu's first deputy president Numvume Ralarala will be in attendance.  

At Seshego's Ngoako Sports Centre Saftu national treasurer Motswari Letshogo will be among the speakers. 

In Port Elizabeth's Lilian Ngoyi Sport Centre in KwaZakhele, Port Elizabeth, Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and deputy general secretary Moleko Pakhedi will be the main speakers. 

In Cape Town Saftu members will congregate at the Langa Indoor Sports Complex to be addressed by second deputy president Thabo Matsose. 

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Read more on:    saftu  |  cosatu  |  labour

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