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Protesters heckle officials during Cosatu march

About 300 Cosatu members marched to the Civic Centre, the Provincial Parliament, and national Parliament to protest high levels of crime in the province, high fuel prices and numerous other grievances affecting the ever-increasing cost of living. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

About 300 Cosatu members marched to the Civic Centre, the Provincial Parliament, and national Parliament to protest high levels of crime in the province, high fuel prices and numerous other grievances affecting the ever-increasing cost of living. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Cape Town - “Go away white boy, tea boy” a hostile crowd of protesters who marched against high levels of crime and unbearable costs of living chanted, as they chased away James-Brent Styan, Chief of Staff to Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Hundreds of Cosatu members and its affiliated unions painted the city red on Thursday as they marched to the City, provincial legislature and parliament to hand over their list of grievances.

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At the Civic Centre, protesters were expecting Hill-Lewis to accept the memorandum but instead Styan went to address and receive the memorandum on his behalf.

“Voet**k, who are you? We want the mayor, you must go back now” the disgruntled crowd heckled Styan.

Cosatu’s Western Cape Chairperson Motlatsi Tsubane said if Hill-Lewis cared he would have addressed them himself.

“He knew we would be here because we sent a communication to his office ahead of time. However the mayor sent someone else to address us. The City claims to be with us and takes our grievances seriously but today we saw the opposite. If they were caring they would be providing services to people and change the high electricity and water tariffs. The law enforcement we see today would be visible in our communities and combine their power with police,” Tsubane said.

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Among their demands was the establishment of community safety forums, employment opportunities, service delivery and police to do more to enforce the provisions of the domestic violence act.

The government spheres were given a deadline of 21 days to respond to the demands.

Sadtu provincial chairperson Jonovan Rustin said they decided to join the march as violence was spilling to schools and happening on school premises.

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According to Styan, their office was informed on Friday about the demonstration and Hill-Lewis had made commitments to attend a meeting.

“We agree with them over the SAPS and fuel prices but the City is not the correct channel of government to address these matters. Safety is one of our top priorities and the mayor is actually busy addressing the same issue to try and see how we can make our vulnerable communities safer. We indicated to them that the mayor is not available,” he said.

However the union’s provincial secretary Malvern De Bruyn dismissed this saying there was no communication.

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Ahead of the demonstration Premier Alan Winde also said the protest was misguided.

Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen was also heckled and the mike was snatched from his hand while speaking.

“All the matters highlighted in Cosatu’s memorandum are issues I’ve been highlighting the last 100 days. We need to unite and take the fight to the national government. I would have also joined you today,” he said.

Cape Times

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