Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
Anna Majavu and Sicelo Dladla
Cosatu and the SACP flexed their muscles yesterday by sending thousands of protesters onto the streets of Durban and Cape Town.
The organisations were protesting against rising high food prices and increased electricity rates.
In Cape Town, Cosatu and the SACP warned that they might have to set conditions for their support of the ANC in the next general elections.
"We voted for change in Polokwane and that change must come quickly," said Cosatu's provincial vice-chairman Jan Kotze.
In Durban, the bodies warned that bigger marches would be organised nationally if the government did not do anything to curb rising costs.
"The days of blank cheques are gone. Never again will we elect the ANC without knowing what they are going to do," said Cosatu's deputy president Violet Seboni.
The SACP's Western Cape secretary Karl Cloete hinted that the party might contest elections on its own in the future.
"It is no longer just about the ANC. In September the SACP will announce at what point we will contest elections in our own right," he said.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande led the march in Durban.
They handed a memorandum to officials of the finance and economic affairs department at the steps of the Durban city hall.
At issue was the rising costs of electricity and food, including petrol.
"We want a package of proposals for measures to address these issues, including increasing the public sector generating capacity. Significant financial contribution by government is required for new investment in power generation," the memorandum read.
Police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said the march was peaceful. "However, there was one incident where taxis blocked Nandi Drive. They dispersed after our members intervened," he said.
The labour movement warned that the march was the first of its campaign of rolling mass action.