Cape Town - About 300 Cosatu members took to the streets of Cape Town to protest against the high levels of crime in the province, the high fuel prices and numerous other grievances affecting the ever-increasing cost of living.
Cosatu in the Western Cape called on all three spheres of the government to address these issues.
Members marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre, the provincial government, and National Parliament to make their feelings known.
The protest garnered support from teachers in the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), workers from the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu), musicians from the Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa (Tumsa), and others.
Cosatu provincial secretary Malvern de Bruyn said: “We filed a Section 77 notice to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in 2018. We expressed our disappointment with provincial government, the police minister, as well as the City because they are all dealing with crime in our areas.”
De Bruyn said in 2017 they received a certificate from Nedlac saying that the matter was unresolved and Cosatu could now hold a legally protected strike.
The protesters intended to hand over memorandums to the City, then to Provincial Parliament, where Community Safety and Police Oversight MEC Reagen Allen accepted the notice, and then to Parliament where Police Minister Bheki Cele received the memorandum.
In the memorandum, they demanded an end to gang violence, sought a responsive government, an end to all corruption, that all police stations and commanders be evaluated by communities, that quarterly community report-back meetings be called by all station commanders, regular police patrols in industrial areas, and public safety at railway stations.
When the protesters approached the Civic Centre, the group refused to hand over their memorandum to anyone except the mayor. They heckled the City chief of staff who came out to accept the memorandum.
The group continued their protest to Provincial Parliament when the mayor didn’t address them.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said: “We share concerns with residents about the cost of living and have recently communicated on how this can be addressed.”
On Tuesday, Premier Alan Winde responded to the planned protest by Cosatu and said the protest against high crime rates in Cape Town was misguided.
Winde invited Cosatu to meet with him to discuss a collective approach to take the grievances of the labour federation to the doorstep of the national government – specifically the president and the police ministry.
However, De Bruyn said they had sent numerous letters to the premier for the past two years, requesting a meeting to discuss the issues but were still waiting for the meeting.