Johannesburg - Hundreds of workers have gathered at the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) head office in Braamfontein in Johannesburg to march and hand over memorandums to government institutions and companies in protest against rampant corruption and state capture.
The workers wore signature red Cosatu garb and sang songs calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down. They carried placards on which was written "Zuma Must Go" and "State Capture is a Criminal Offense". Some of them wore African National Congress (ANC) colours as they ran up and down the street next to Cosatu offices, whiling away time ahead of the march.
Cosatu said it expected thousands of workers to take part in the nationwide protest against rising unemployment, corruption, state capture, likely bringing the country's major cities to a standstill. At least 13 marches are set to take place across the nine provinces, including one to Parliament in Cape Town. The protest has received support from organisations such as the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA).
The section 77 strike action was given the go ahead by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Cosatu secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali said all workers, regardless of union affiliation, can join the march and are protected by section 77 of the Labour Relations Act.
In Johannesburg, marchers would be led by SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande and Ntshalintshali. Memorandum of demands would be handed over to Gauteng Premier David Makhura's office, the Department of Labour, FNB and other banks, the Chamber of Mines and the City of Joburg.
The country's biggest union federation and the SACP, who are both part of the tri-partite alliance with the governing ANC, have repeatedly called on Zuma to step down in the face of damning allegations of corruption and looting of state resources by the controversial Gupta family and their associates. The family enjoys close ties to Zuma and are business partners with his son Duduzane.
Police have urged protesters to behave and respect other people's rights.
''No criminality, including intimidation and any form of lawlessness will be tolerated. We are confident that this call will be adhered to. It is in the best interests of all parties to work together to avoid unnecessary conflict situations. People who do not follow the correct procedures and the rule of law will be held accountable,'' said police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.