PPE protest: 2 arrested as police use water cannons to disperse Nehawu members in Cape Town

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Nehawu members at their offices in Cape Town after being dispersed at a protest outside Parliament.
Nehawu members at their offices in Cape Town after being dispersed at a protest outside Parliament.
Cebelihle Mthethwa,News24
  • Two people have been arrested during a protest for PPE in Cape Town.
  • The unions had planned to march to Parliament to hand over a memorandum of demands. 
  • South African Union of Students said too many front line workers were succumbing to Covid-19.

Two people were arrested during a National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) protest outside Parliament on Thursday - they were calling for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.

Nehawu and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) planned a national protest for front line healthcare workers on Thursday. For the Cape Town leg, the unions planned to march to Parliament to hand over a memorandum of demands. 

However, protesters were dispersed with water cannons before they could hand over the memorandum.

Speaking to News24 afterwards, Nehawu Western Cape secretary Eric Kweleta said: "We were just going to Parliament to hand over a memorandum to the [National Assembly] Speaker.

"That didn't happen because the police arrived there with their water cannons, and it was like an army of police," he added.

Kweleta said they told police they were there to hand over the memorandum and leave, but were still dispersed.

Two Nehawu members were arrested during the protest.

READ | Nehawu threatens full-blown strike over Covid-19 safety

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said public order police arrested two men - aged 41 and 44 - who had participated in the march.

Kweleta said police were now outside their regional offices in the city.

"The police have been standing in front of our office, which is quite provocative."

"We have advised our members to remain disciplined because we want to avoid a Marikana second phase," said Kweleta.

Meanwhile, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) was also present at the protest.

Sibusiso Thwala, SAUS district secretary, said there were too many front line workers succumbing to Covid-19. He suggested government compensate the children of those workers.

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