EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it stands in solidarity with workers of the South African Airways (SAA) who will on Friday and Saturday embark on a crippling strike to force the airliner to reverse looming retrenchments that would affect 944 workers.

In a statement on Thursday, the party, through its spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said they do not only support the strike action but they will also join it. 

“The EFF not only supports the strike action, we will join in together with our groundforces,” Ndlozi said in a statement. 

The strike would be led by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (SACCA). The strike would involve about 3 000 workers which includes technical and non-technical staff. In response, SAA said it will ground all its domestic and regional flights in order to minimise flight delays as a result of the strike. 

Ndlozi then mobilised support for the workers from the broader community, saying if there would be a need to shut down airports during the strike, that should be done. 

“We call on workers to unite and fight retrenchments. The failure of SAA cannot be blamed on ordinary workers; they cannot be the ones who take the responsibility by losing jobs that support their families and relatives. We call on all progressive forces in South Africa, families and relatives of all workers in SAA to join in the demonstrations and fight against job losses. If needs be, all airports must be shut down, until SAA guarantees jobs for all SAA workers,” Ndlozi said. 

According to the EFF, the woes of SAA should be attributed to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, saying in their almost two years in power, they have failed to stabilise the airline together with other State-owned companies like Eskom. 

“They have no plan to save State institutions and the broader economic condition of high unemployment. Ramaphosa keeps misleading the country with investment conferences that promises billions of rands that no one feels on the ground. If there are billions in investments why is SAA planning to retrench workers?” Ndlozi asked. 

* This story will be updated as soon the Presidency responds to the EFF’s claims about investment conferences.