Saftu slams violence claims as a hoax

Saftu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi (File, Lameez Omarjee, Fin24)
Saftu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi (File, Lameez Omarjee, Fin24)

The SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) rubbished claims that its planned "national shutdown" on Wednesday will be violent.

"We don't think people are genuinely worried. We think that somebody is quite maliciously sending out messages on social media in a deliberate attempt to try to oppose the strike," said Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven.

"So we would urge everybody to ignore that completely. There will be absolutely no danger," said Craven.

One of the messages urges parents to keep children at home instead of sending them to school, but the education department has already made it clear that schools will continue as normal.

"The marches will be peaceful, well marshalled and disciplined, as they always are and people have actually no reason to fear."

The federation is confident that there will be a "great number" of people participating in the protests and marches.

'Certain amounts of disruption'

Saftu also hoped that "rank and file" workers would join them, regardless of whether they belong to unions or not.

News24 has previously explained that Parliament was considering amendments to the Labour Relations Act‚ the Basic Conditions of Employment Ac and the new National Minimum Wage Bill, and that this has sparked Saftu's protests.

Saftu also objects to the R20 an hour minimum wage agreement, which was set to be implemented on May 1 but which has since been postponed.

READ: Everything you need to know about Wednesday’s general strike 

Craven said there would be "certain amounts of disruption" associated with big marches, such as traffic problems, but this will be confined to relatively small areas in the city centres.

In the meantime, the police have warned that anybody with mayhem on their minds, would be dealt with.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, comprising various government departments and law enforcement agencies, had put security measures in place.

This was to protect the right to strike, to maintain order and safety, and to protect property.

Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are expected to be the centre of protest actions, according to assessments so far, and law enforcement agencies nationally have been advised of their roles and responsibilities particularly on crowd and traffic management.

"Those who will participate must do so within the confines of the law and in a responsible manner. Those disguising themselves as protesters but [who] are joining only to cause mayhem and commit crime, will face arrest and prosecution," said Naidoo.

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