What you need to know about the planned national shutdown: Schools, trains not affected

Saftu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi leads Saftu in a protest march against poverty. (File photo: Lameez Omarjee, Fin24)
Saftu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi leads Saftu in a protest march against poverty. (File photo: Lameez Omarjee, Fin24)

Schools and trains will not be affected by countrywide SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) protests and marches over a proposed national minimum wage on Wednesday.

The Saftu protests coincide with the ongoing bus strike in South Africa that has affected commuters since April 18.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in a statement: "The Department of Basic Education does not expect to be affected by tomorrow's (Wednesday) national strike action by the South African Federation of Trade Unions."

He told News24 on Tuesday that the Saftu-affiliated unions were not in the basic education sector.

Mhlanga added that the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA, the National Teachers Union, the Professional Educators Union and the SA Onderwysers Unie were the main unions in the basic education sector. None of them would take part in the protests.

Sadtu has already stated it would not be participating, via a statement distancing itself from the protests.

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

"South Africa’s biggest teacher and education workers’ union Sadtu and an affiliate of [the Congress of SA Trade Unions], will not take part in a nationwide strike planned by Saftu on Wednesday, 25 April, 2018," the statement said.

In the Western Cape, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said in a statement that, if there was any late-coming as a result of the strike, they would "arrange catch-up sessions" for those who miss a significant part of the day's lessons.

All trains countrywide would continue to operate, according to Passenger Rail Agency of SA spokesperson Nana Zenani.

Metrorail in Cape Town also added that it was working on repairing technical faults that caused a power failure on its lines on Tuesday and hoped to be up and running again on Wednesday.

"No indication has been given that Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Metrorail) trade unions will participate in sympathy with [the] Saftu-organised protest action," said Metrorail Western Cape.

Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven told News24 the marches would be peaceful.

'No danger or mayhem'

"There will be absolutely no danger," he said, adding that people should disregard hoax messages warning of mayhem.

Saftu was formed after a split from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and included the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), one of the unions at the forefront of the bus strike.

READ: Bus strike set to continue on Saftu national protest day

The nationwide bus strike is still ongoing and it has severely hampered the travel plans of those who use buses.

Meanwhile, talks to end the bus strike were still underway late on Tuesday night but even if they were settled, the Numsa component would still join the Saftu strike, as an affiliate to the fledgling trade union federation.

It will be Saftu's first big show of force, but Cosatu and the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) have made it clear they will not join the strike.

READ MORE: Fedusa lashes out at Saftu, calls nationwide strike self-serving

Craven said the union had been given permission for the march and the local metropolitan police were aware of their routes.

The following routes will be used (times still need to be confirmed):

- In Johannesburg, marchers will assemble at Newtown Precinct Park before marching to the Department of Labour, the Gauteng Department of Health and Premier David Makhura's office.
- In Cape Town, marchers will assemble at Keizersgracht before marching to the City of Cape Town and Parliament.
- In Port Elizabeth, marchers will assemble at Vusi Dlamini Square before marching to Centenary Hall.
- In Bloemfontein, marchers will assemble at Batho Hall before marching to the Department of Labour.
- In Polokwane, marchers will assemble at SABC Park before marching to the departments of labour and social development.
- And, in Durban, marchers will assemble at Botha's Place before marching to Durban City Hall, the departments of labour, economic development and the premier's and mayor's offices.

Saftu was granted permission by the City of Cape Town for up to 2 000 marchers to take to the streets of Cape Town's CBD from 11:30 to 15:30, reported EWN.

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