Contract workers from various state programmes march in Pretoria and call on government to end stipends and to absorb them at rates that could help them afford a normal life. Picture: James Mahlokwane
Contract workers from various state programmes march in Pretoria and call on government to end stipends and to absorb them at rates that could help them afford a normal life. Picture: James Mahlokwane

WATCH: Government workers march in Tshwane against exploitation

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Feb 12, 2020

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Pretoria - Thousands of unhappy workers took to the streets of Pretoria to march against the exploitation of workers rendering services to various government departments.

The wave of marchers travelled in buses from different parts of the province and gathered in Marabastad where they were escorted by policing authorities who initially said the march was not legal.

The crowd was comprised of community healthcare workers, early childhood development workers and members of the Expanded Public Works Programme. 

They want government officials in the Department of Education, the Department of Health and provincial departments and municipalities to re-look at and review the contracts of these "government contract workers" and improve their wages.

They said all these government spheres were exposing these workers to stipends that amounted to nothing but the exploitation of people doing important work.

Contract workers from various state programmes march in Pretoria and call on government to end stipends and to absorb them at rates that could help them afford a normal life. Video: James Mahlokwane


Marching in numbers, they made several stops across the City, bringing traffic to a standstill while singing. 

They sang Struggle songs and called for the liberation of the masses who've been doing work for meagre salaries.

They were led by the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) as they headed to make stops and deliver memorandums to the relevant departments that could influence change in their plight. 

The workers dressed in yellow and red shirts called on government to absorb them at a salary scare that would see them paid at least R12 000 per month or accept that there'll be similar demonstrations well into the year. 

Nupsaw national organiser Solly Malema said the City of Tshwane wanted to sabotage the march but the union made it clear they were going ahead with it, with or without their endorsement and it would be up to them if they deploy policing authorities or not.

"As a union affiliated to the South African Federation of Trade Unions we are determined to call on government to put and end to the exploitation and slavery of our people. 

"We want these people to be recognised and paid for their work. 

"We are also going to be holding a night vigil at the Union Buildings to call on President Ramaphosa to give instructions to the relevant ministers and departments to engage us so that these issues could be resolved to fairly benefit the people," he said. 

Malema added that some of the unions affiliated to the ANC have agreed with government to working conditions and wages that are enslaving these contract workers. 

Meanwhile, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP), Tshwane Real Traders Association, Iketsetseng Traders Association and SA Cleaners, Security and Allied Workers Union led another group of marchers from Bosman Station to the Department of Transport and the Union Buildings. 

Frustrated by the lack of crucially important trains in the townships, they called on the Department of Transport and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to fix the problems that have been making the poorest of the commuters poorer as they struggle to afford alternative transport to work.

Pretoria News

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