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'Give us a basic grant of R1500 or we'll wreak havoc'

By Canaan Mdletshe | Jul 17, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A GROUP representing the unemployed in KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to set townships alight and unleash an army of looters on shops unless all jobless people received a basic income grant of R1500 a month.

National spokesperson for the SA Unemployed People's Movement, Nozipho Mteshana, said a survey the group commissioned had uncovered more than 26million unemployed people in South Africa, more than half of the population.

The figures had gone up recently because of job losses from the economic meltdown.

Mteshana said the country would soon be in flames if the government failed to do something because people's anger could not be contained much longer.

"We give our government and eThekwini municipality, which is our focus at this point, seven days to give us answers."

The group has handed the municipality a memorandum of their grievances.

"If we don't get positive answers by next Wednesday we will let people loot all the big shops and take whatever food they find in those shops. If this is the only language our government understands, then we will speak it very loudly," she warned.

Mteshana said most of their members were young tertiary graduates. They were fed up with "ANC pals and the same people getting tenders" while others went hungry.

She said in a country where pensions were granted only at 60 it pained her to note that most unemployed people were between 18 and 35.

Crime was escalating because people were hungry.

"Hungry stomachs are angry stomachs, which is why we feel that unemployed people should be provided with a basic income grant. Our government has money but it is not prioritised properly."

Economic expert Bonke Dumisa said it was unreal to expect an economic solution to these problems.

"Business can't do it. Business is in the business of making money with as few people as possible, given the economic downturn."

He said the answers lay with the politicians and their will to deal with the real unemployment figures.


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