Trade unionists painted several towns red yesterday during a national protest orchestrated by the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
The demonstration was to highlight issues around public transport, health and safety, corruption, attacks on collective bargaining, retrenchment and unemployment, gender-based violence and the gender pay gap.
Roads in Cape Town, Durban, Joburg and other major cities were gridlocked as thousands of members delivered memorandums to all three spheres of government in the various provinces.
In Cape Town, they made their way to the Civic Centre in the CBD where provincial organiser Paul Bester said: “This is a stay away where we encourage all our members to down their tools.
We have been too lenient for so long with the government and now we are standing up.”
The march started in Langa on Bunga Avenue.
Cosatu provincial secretary Marvin de Bruyn says: “The application for the strike is for 50 cars with four occupants, but more than a hundred cars have shown up.”
Just before 9am, four police vans led the motorcade on the N2 where two lanes were closed.
At the Civic Centre, the City’s Head of Collective Bargaining, Joe Barnes; Premier Alan Winde and Parliament’s Deputy Minister for the Justice Department John Jeffery received and signed the memorandum.
Motlatsi Tsubane, the provincial chairperson for Cosatu, read: “We are gathered here to express, on behalf of millions of workers and ordinary people, anger, frustration, and united solidarity against the horrifying conditions we are all faced with.
"Employers are more interested in protecting their products than the health and safety of their employees.”
Tsubane added that many workers in the informal sector could not access unemployment insurance benefits as they do not have contracts making them ineligible to apply for the resource.