JOHANNESBURG - As workers embark on a general strike organised by the SA Federation of Trade Unions, the SA Police Service has warned that no criminal behaviour will be tolerated during the marches around the country.
''The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) appeals to those who will be participating in the strike, to respect the rights of those who choose not be participate in such actions and to refrain from intimidation or any other form of criminal behaviour,'' said police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.
''Those who will participate must do so within the confines of the law and in a responsible manner. Those disguising themselves as protesters but are joining only to cause mayhem and commit crime, will face arrest and prosecution.''
Saftu, a rival of the Congress of SA Trade Unions, has organised a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, Polokwane, Bloemfontein, Durban, East London and Cape Town, handing over memorandums at various government departments and offices of provincial premiers.
Saftu has slammed the planned national minimum wage of R20 per hour, or R3,500 a month, as well as amendments to labour laws. The union federation is also angry over economic hardships facing workers and the poor.
Cosatu has distanced itself from the strike, saying that it supports the minimum wage tabled. The Saftu strike comes at the back of a protracted bus drivers' strike that has entered a second week and caused commuter chaos.
Police, traffic officers and metro police departments will keep an eye on the marches across the provinces, said Naidoo.
''Law enforcement agencies nationally have been advised of their roles and responsibilities particularly in respect of crowd and traffic management on Wednesday. Operational plans have been developed under the auspices of the various provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structures in anticipation of people descending on identified areas.''
African News Agency/ANA