Videos: Armand Hough and Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency
Cape Town – Police fired stun grenades and arrested two South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) protesters as the union members attempted to make their way to Parliament.
Saftu was embarking on nationwide protest action today against inequality and other socio-economic issues.
Police used stun grenades to stop protesters from making their way Parliament, where Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was set to deliver his Budget speech.
A confrontation ensured, leading to the arrest of provincial secretary for Saftu Western Cape Andre Adams and his wife, Nadine.
SAPS spokesperson Andrè Traut said: “This office can confirm that two people were arrested this afternoon in Cape Town for an offence in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
“Once charged, they are expected to make a court appearance in Cape Town.”
Provincial chairperson of Saftu Nyaniso Siyana condemned police action, calling them “agents of capitalism”.
“There is nothing called democracy in this country, there is nothing called freedom in this country. Freedom is for the rich, not for the poor.
“Had it been the rich people who were going to Parliament, had it been the white people who were marching to Parliament, they would have been allowed today to march to Parliament, but today the working class and the marginalised people are the ones who are marching to Parliament to raise their grievances (and) today they are being prevented.
Siyana said when the local government elections come around, it is important for people to know who they are voting for.
“Both the ANC and the DA are an agent of capitalism and they know the existence of Saftu is to challenge the status quo of capitalism, hence, the police is being used to defend the capitalist state. We understand that the police is nothing else but an agent to make sure that they defend the status quo.”
General Industries Workers Union Of South Africa Western Cape secretary, Abeedah Adams, spoke about Saftu demands during the union’s national march in Cape Town.
“Our demands are that we want to have a moratorium on job losses. We are saying also that government must instruct employers not to use Covid-19 as an excuse to retrench workers.”