Tens of thousands of Cosatu members are expected to down tools today and join marches against corruption and state capture as the union hopes to shut down the country’s economy. Here are 10 things you should know about the strike.
1. Cosatu secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali said the legal strike allows all workers irrespective of their union affiliation to down tools.
2. Unions affiliated to Cosatu included critical industries such as health, education, municipal workers, transport, mining are also set to take part in the strike. The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union indicated that members would join.
3. All SACP members in government, including ministers, have been instructed to down tools and join workers at the picket lines.
4. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has called on all its members not to participate in the strike.
5. Workers are expected to gather at 10am at various meeting points across the nine provinces and participate in 13 marches to premiers' offices, Parliament in Cape Town, and other government institutions to hand over a memorandum of demands.
6. Economists warned that the strike could have serious adverse effects on the economy even if it is not well supported. Dawie Roodt, the chief economist at Efficient Group, said if the strike were to result in a total shutdown of the economy the rough estimate of the loss to the economy would be around R5 billion.
7. In Gauteng, Cosatu leaders are expected to hand over memorandums to the City of Joburg, Department of Labour, Chamber of Mines, Premier David Makhura’s office, and to the banking institutions.
8. In Durban, Metro Police Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said 1500 marshals would be monitoring the progress of the march. Sewparsad advised that people should avoid using Dr Pixley KaSeme Street (formerly West Street) and any streets that intersected with it.
9. Participants in Cape Town will start their march from Keizersgracht at 11.30am and must disperse by no later than 3pm. Rolling road closures will be in place to accommodate the route as follows: the group will start from Keizersgracht at 11:30, proceed down Darling Street, turn right into Buitenkant Street, and left into Strand Street. They will hand over a memorandum to Prasa, then continue left into Adderley Street, Wale Street, and to the Provincial Legislature, returning via Wale Street into Adderley Street, then right into Spin/Bureau Street, and right into Plein Street to National Parliament.
10. "The march is an important moment where organised labour is coming out clearly to express its disdain and disgust against those who are stealing from our state and national resources... for themselves and their families at the expense of the majority,'' SACP deputy secretary Solly Mapaila has said.