The lid will be taken off the pot, says SAFTU ahead of national shutdown

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SAFTU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addresses media at a briefing with working class formations to give an update on the preparations for the National Shutdown on Monday.
SAFTU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addresses media at a briefing with working class formations to give an update on the preparations for the National Shutdown on Monday.
Alex Patrick
  • Zwelinzima Vavi said Monday's shutdown would be a potent display of dissatisfaction by the working class.
  • However, the SAFTU general-secretary said it would be a peaceful show of force.
  • SAFTU has a list of 14 demands it is protesting over. 

Zwelinzima Vavi says the government should not think the planned shutdown will be "business-as-usual" because "the lid would be taken off the pot" on Monday.

The SA Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) general-secretary told the media on Friday the mass protest would be peaceful, despite what had been touted by some ministers and by the president, but it would be a mass demonstration of the ire of the working classes who will down tools. 

On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned the EFF law enforcement officials would not tolerate anarchy or disorder during the party's planned shutdown. 

Ramaphosa said the only way of getting him out of office would be through a vote, not an attempt to overthrow the government. 

On Friday morning, national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola conducted a state of readiness visit to Gauteng to assess and ensure the police are ready for the planned protest.

In response, Vavi said: "Our protest action will be peaceful, we are advocating for peace, the press conference yesterday by the president and ministers is a panic reaction."

READ | EFF interdicted from threatening, harming people, businesses during shutdown in Western Cape

In the same breath, he added perhaps they had a reason to panic because "the lid will be taken from the pot" on Monday.

Concerns have been raised over the planned shutdown with the July 2022 unrest still fresh in people's minds - where eight days of violent protests almost brought the country to the cusp of anarchy.

Vavi said SAFTU was not joining the EFF but rather participating in the shutdown.

The union has a list of 14 demands to add to the EFF's demands that Ramaphosa step down as president and to end load shedding.

They are:

  • Decent jobs for the unemployed at a living wage.
  • An end to load shedding.
  • A universal basic income grant of R1 500 to address the levels of poverty among the unemployed and poorly paid workers.
  • The lowering of food, fuel, electricity prices and interest rates.
  • A minimum living wage of R72 an hour or R12 500 a month for all workers.
  • An end to rampant crime and violence. The arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of all violence, including against women and children.
  • A just transition to move South Africa from a fossil fuel-based economy to the introduction of more renewables on the condition that no single existing (fossil fuel) job is lost.
  • The renationalisation of Sasol, Iscor, SAA and other SOEs the ANC government has sold partially or in full, and a full makeover at Denel, Prasa, PetroSA etc., to reflect social and labour needs.
  • Reverse the budget cuts and increase government spending in critical areas of service delivery.
  • An expansion of the public sector wage bill so more teachers, nurses, police, traffic and correctional officers and social workers can be hired and are better paid.
  • Pay government workers well and protect collective bargaining.
  • Immediate insourcing of all security and cleaning, community healthcare, early childhood development, and EPWP (expanded public works programme) workers.
  • Free and decolonised education for all from cradle to the grave.
  • Rapid release of land for human settlement.

Vavi said Monday's shutdown was not an insurrection but citizens exercising their right to protest.

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