Saftu vows to bring Joburg to a standstill until demands are met

Picture: Zintle Mahlati

Picture: Zintle Mahlati

Published Apr 25, 2018


Johannesburg - The general secretary of Saftu Zwelinzima Vavi has threatened to bring thousands of its members to camp at government departments if their demands for the scrapping of changes to labour laws are not met.  

Vavi told thousands of members that they would bring Joburg CBD to a standstill if the government does not listen to the federation.

"We will camp for two days. We are going to take the buses and put them here. We are going to take the trains and taxis and come here. We will not leave the town until our rights are guaranteed," said Vavi. 

"Already the laws in this country tell us that when we picket we should be 100 metres away from the place of employment," he said to loud cheers from members. 

He also did not spare President Cyril Ramaphosa and called him along with federations Cosatu and Fedusa "sell outs" for signing the deal for a national minimum wage and changes to labour laws. 

"You agreed with employers on picketing rules."

"Ramaphosa is earning R2.6 million, we know that is peanuts for him. We are not the "Mafikizolo's here. We fought for this and we did not fight so that you alone can buy a buffalo."  

Saftu members marched to various departments on Wednesday including the department of labour, the Gauteng Premier’s office and to the Chamber of Mines.

Picture: Zintle Mahlati

Their demands were repeated with every stop. 

The 1-year-old federation wants the government to put a stop to the amendments to the Labour Relations Act, which will see the various changes to the act. 

It will also include the introduction of the national minimum wage of R20 per hour, which Saftu believes does not nothing to put an end to apartheid wages .

Saftu has taken issue with these changes, especially the introduction of mandatory balloting of members by unions before a strike. 

Video: Zintle Mahlati

It's an insult to workers to introduce a minimum wage of R20 per hour and asking for secret ballots, Vavi said.  

The federation, which has an unaudited 750 000 members, is also demanding to be included into the National Economic and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Nedlac is where government, labour and business discuss economic policy decisions and labour related matters. Three federations, Nactu, Cosatu and Fedusa, form part of the labour constituency at Nedlac, and Saftu wants in.

But the federation has been accused of misleading its members and the public about the status of their admission to Nedlac. Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said the union has stalled the process by not submitting the required documents.  

Joburg CBD:

Businesses in the Joburg CBD closed their doors as thousands of members of Saftu made their way through the streets of Joburg.

A shop located at the ANC's headquarters in Joburg CBD was almost looted as some Saftu members tried to break into the store. A window at the store was broken before SAPS members stopped members from entering. 

Some shops were spared as they closed their doors before the marchers passed their doors. 

Political Bureau

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