National strike aims to halt price hikes

Kingdom Mabuza, Sibongile Mashaba, Anna Majavu and Tebogo Monama

Kingdom Mabuza, Sibongile Mashaba, Anna Majavu and Tebogo Monama

The country is expected to grind to a halt today when thousands of members of Cosatu protest against the rising cost of living.

But general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told Sowetan that the federation was making headway with their demands.

"Were it not for our engagement with the ANC the country would be paying a whopping 60percent more for electricity now," Vavi said.

"Cosatu led the struggle against this increase and now we will pay 27percent. That's progress.

"The alliance summit agreed to look at further zero rating of VAT and increasing social grants.

"We said we had to consider food vouchers for those who have no food at all.

"All of a sudden you have the president and minister of finance going public to say those things will not happen."

Cosatu's demands include nationalising Sasol, issuing food vouchers for the poor and zero rating basic food items.

The national strike comes barely a month after scores of people took to the streets of towns in Limpopo, North West, Eastern Cape and Gauteng to protest against skyrocketing food, electricity and fuel prices.

Transport operations and education are expected to come to a halt in the country today.

The Johannesburg Metro Bus company has advised commuters to make alternative transport plans because "disruption of bus services is expected".

The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union's Joel Sindane said taxi drivers in Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga would join the strike.

Schooling, particular in the townships, could be affected since most teachers are members of the militant Sadtu.