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Cosatu: Strike to ensure Mboweni's budget speech includes views of labour

The labour federation is holding several marches across the country in against unemployment the current wave of retrenchments and income inequality.

Cosatu begins its march against job losses at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg on 13 February 2019 with protest songs and dancing. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

DURBAN/JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Zingiswa Losi said part of the motivation behind Wednesday’s mass action is to ensure that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech includes the views of labour and address how jobs will be saved.

The labour federation is holding several marches across the country in against unemployment the current wave of retrenchments and income inequality.

Losi says that the Jobs Summit hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year was just the first step towards dealing with the unemployment crisis and now they want Mboweni to explain how this will be done financially.

"We are raising this matter between the State of the Nation Address and the budget speech deliberately because we want the Minister of Finance to factor in, in his budget, so that he can focus on addressing unemployment."

Losi said their march does not imply a breakdown of trust in Mboweni

"It’s not issues of not trusting, it’s us raising the issues that we strongly feel they must find expression."

Losi said the ordinary central executive committee will decide whether to further escalate industrial action against government after next week’s budget speech.

Meanwhile in Gauteng, Cosatu says that none of its demands to the African National Congress (ANC)-led government are unreasonable.

Hundreds of members and supporters gathered at Mary Fitzgerald Square in the Johannesburg CBD.

Members have braved the rain and came out in their numbers to say no to retrenchments and job losses.

Cosatu’s Gauteng chairperson Amos Monyela said: "The nationalisation of the Reserve Bank is what we had tabled at Nasrec because we believe the Reserve Bank is not dealing with job creation and also targeting inflation."

The South African Communist Party’s Solly Mapaila says they are at the march to put pressure on their alliance partner the ANC to take the necessary action.

Cosatu will March to the office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura to deliver their memorandum.

Government has urged all taking part in the mass strike to do so without disrupting schooling.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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