Sea of red and yellow hits Pretoria as union members protest against high standard of living

Mpho Koka Journalist
COSATU and SAFTU members commence their march against the high cost of living to the Union Buildings in Pretoria
COSATU and SAFTU members commence their march against the high cost of living to the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Image: Antonio Muchave

A sea of red and yellow has flooded Burgers Park, a recreational facility in Pretoria CBD, in anticipation of addresses by Cosatu and Saftu leaders on Wednesday.

The two labour federations have jointly organised a protest over the state of the economy and the high standard of living through rising fuel and food prices.

Dressed in red and yellow T-shirts Saftu and waving flags of similar colours, the trade union members of the two federations marched through the capital city towards the park as they sang Struggle songs.

Hawkers around the park, some selling regalia of the two organisations, made brisk business selling also snacks, drinks and cigarettes.

While the strikers were singing and dancing, other members of public walking past the park did not pay too much attention to the gathering as they headed to their destinations.

Some of the people at the gathering said they joined the strike to call on government to help financially distressed employees.

Thabo Rangwato, 42, of Pretoria North in Soweto, said the cost of living is high and government needs to intervene to restrain the problem.

Rangwato works as a human resource administrator at a government department.

“We just came from a difficult period of Covid. The cost of living is high, with the petrol price always increasing. This leads to increase of food prices. Bread now costs R20 and we have load-shedding almost every two weeks. 

“This affects our economy as businesses find it difficult to operate. We want government to assist us so that we can recover and get back to our normal lives,’’ said Rangwato.

Phethani Madzivhandila, 29, of Sunnyside, Pretoria, said this strike is a call on government to also assist unemployed people.  

Unemployed Madzivhandila is community activist in his area.

“I am here to defend the interests of the working class. There is an onslaught on the working class people through the high cost of living.

“The price of [cooking] oil is high. Imagine that. There is an army of unemployed people who are suffering as well. They need to be assisted as well,” he said.

The protesters' final destination on Wednesday is the Union Buildings, the seat of the SA government, where they are to hand over a memorandum of demands.

Law enforcement officers have been deployed to the area.

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