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Cosatu, DA to face off

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zilel may 15

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

(File photo) Western Cape premier Helen Zille. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane

The streets of Joburg are set for a political showdown between the DA and Cosatu on Tuesday when party members are set to march on the federation’s headquarters.

The DA said on Monday night it was going ahead with its planned march on Cosatu House in spite of the ANC appealing for the opposition party to abandon its plans and unions turning up the heat.

However, Johannesburg Metro Police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said the DA would not be allowed to march near Cosatu’s headquarters.

“A security assessment was done and it was decided that the route would be changed so that speeches are done at a neutral venue,” Minnaar said late on Monday.

“They won’t be allowed near Cosatu House,” Minnaar told Sapa.

Minnaar said about 3 000 marchers were expected to converge at Beyers Naude Square.

The march will start at 11am and proceed to President, Rissik, Jeppe, Sauer, Burger, Jorissen, Melle and Simmonds streets.

It will end on the lawns of the Joburg Civic Theatre.

“This action by the DA is not only confrontational but is extremely provocative,” ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

DA Leader Helen Zille, party youth leader Makashule Gana, its parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and national spokesman Mmusi Maimane will be leading the march to Cosatu House in Braamfontein, where they plan to address their marchers.

But Cosatu and its affiliates intend massing in a park across the road from the labour federation’s headquarters.

The labour federation has called on its affiliates to turn out in their numbers. Metalworkers union Numsa said on Monday night that it, commercial, catering and allied workers union Saccawu, the Communication Workers Union and members of the Progressive Youth Alliance – including the ANC Youth League, SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) and Young Communist League would “occupy or swamp the streets”.

The DA says the march is to protest against Cosatu’s opposition to the youth wage subsidy, a policy it says could create an estimated 423 000 jobs for young, unemployed people.

But Numsa sees it as a declaration of class war by a party it perceives as representing the interests of white monopoly capital and bent on turning those with jobs against the mass of unemployed in a divide-and-rule tactic.

“The DA has opened the chapter of open political warfare! They have sown the wind, they shall reap the harvest!” a Numsa statement declared, welcoming “this class provocation”.

Mthembu said: “The ANC would like to request the DA to desist from marching to Cosatu House, as this will heighten unnecessary tension.”

But DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said: “As far as we are concerned the march is going ahead.”

The tactics being applied by the ANC and Cosatu were unfortunate and unfair. “This issue is important enough for us not to bow down to attempts at intimidation but to march for the right (of) youth to be employed.

“For how long can Cosatu hold this position when (Finance Minister Pravin) Gordhan has already allocated money in the budget for it and (Planning Minister Trevor Manuel) agrees it would be a way of stimulating job opportunities for the young? We want the march to be peaceful. We are not seeking confrontation”, Maimane said.

The party had received permission for the march from metro police (JMPD) and a route had been agreed. JMPD members would provide security and the DA had also arranged its own marshalls, Maimane said. The party was expecting DA members and young unemployed people to attend.

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