Cosatu strike at rocketing prices

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Nelspruit came to a standstill yesterday when hundreds of members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) marched through the city's streets in a protest against the "skyrocketing" prices of food, fuel and electricity.

A huge crowd gathered at Nelspruit rugby stadium and then marched to the provincial government offices and Eskom to submit a memorandum of their grievances.

Mapetla Mashele, chairman for the local branch of Cosatu, said the marchers in Nelspruit included members from Hazyview, Barberton and surrounding areas.

"We want the government to make sure that it recognises the voice of the workers when formulating economic framework policies," said Mashele.

He said Cosatu was again echoing its rejection of the Growth and Economic Redistribution policy (Gear) that the labour union had been opposed to since its inception in 1996.

"We are saying these policies make the rich richer and the poor poorer," said Mashele.

The transport industry also recognised the Cosatu strike by staying away, leaving scores of people stranded.

There were no taxis or buses in places such as KaNyamazane, KaBokweni and Thekwane.

People, including schoolchildren, were forced to hitchhike to get to work and school.

Nonhlanhla Khumalo, who works at a Nelspruit restaurant, told Sowetan: "I first called my manager to say I might not make it to work.

"But I had to hire a private vehicle when he threatened to fire me from work if I failed to pitch up."