Saftu: National labour strike will be peaceful but effective

The federation's more than 20 unions, including Numsa, will take part in various marches to put pressure on government not to implement the R20 minimum wage bill.

Trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi addressing anti-minimum wage protesters in Cape Town. Picture: @Numsa_Media/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says that Wednesday's nationwide strike will be effective but peaceful.

The federation's more than 20 unions, including Numsa, will take part in various marches to put pressure on government not to implement the R20 minimum wage bill.

Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) and Fedusa have distanced themselves from the action, saying that they will not support what they call an irresponsible call against something that will benefit workers.

But Saftu's Patrick Craven says they hope this will force government to listen to their plight.

“Everything will be done orderly and we urge all listeners to join us in the protests.”

Saftu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi says that no worker who chooses not to participate in the national strike will be intimidated and condemns any calls for violence.

Vavi says violence in the streets will not be tolerated.

"A lot of times people who call their managers to make such claims when they don't even exist, are trying to find an excuse so that they're not disciplined or to be seen to be part of the action that was protesting in defence of their rights. So they would likely create non-existing stories, that they are being intimidated when they are participating in the strike."

In Johannesburg, protestors are set to gather in Newtown from 10 am and march to the Chamber of Mines departments of Health and Labour as well as the Premier’s office.

Other marches and pickets are planned for Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Durban, East London and Queenstown.

Santaco's Ralph Jones says taxi drivers were not approached to join the strike and will be operating as normal.

“As far as we’re concerned, it will be business as usual, our structures were never approached by anyone to say there’s a situation like this. We hear this in the media.”

A fake message has been doing the roads advising South Africans that the strike will be marred by violence, warning people not to be on the roads and to keep children out of school.

Here are the areas where the Saftu marchers will be assembling and marching to:

  • Johannesburg: Assemble at Newtown Precinct Park, march to Department of Labour, the Provincial Department of Health and the Premier's Office.

  • Cape Town: Assemble at Keizersgracht, march to the City of Cape Town offices and Parliament.

  • Port Elizabeth: Assemble at Vuyisile Mini Square, march to Great Centenary Hall.

  • Polokwane: Assemble at SABC Park, march to the Departments of Labour and Social Development.

  • Durban: Assemble at Botha’s Place, march to Durban City Hall, Departments of Labour and Economic Development and Premier and Mayor’s offices.

  • Bloemfontein: Assemble at Batho Hall, march to Department of Labour.

  • East London and Queenstown: March to Department of Labour.