The time to talk is now

ALL eyes will be on Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille as she and her supporters march to the headquarters of giant trade union federation Congress of South African Trade Unions.

The opposition party has accused Cosatu of standing in the way of the youth wage subsidy, which they argue could create an estimated 423,000 jobs for young unemployed citizens.

Zille's party is taking the march very seriously, and will be accompanied by Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, youth leader Makashule Gana and national spokesman Mmusi Maimane, in protest against what they term Cosatu's bias against the unemployed and in favour of those who already have jobs.

But what we are concerned about is the tone set by the parties ahead of today's march.

When the DA first mooted the march, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said then the opposition party would never understand what it would be like to be a young black woman who earned a minimum wage.

Cosatu and the DA have been at each other's throats, especially over the other issue of labour brokers.

But latest reports suggest the DA will find it hard to see its march to the finish.

Unions affiliated to Cosatu at the weekend vowed to bring the march to a screeching halt.

It is not up to us to judge who is right and who is wrong in this instance, but we think the DA, like any other South African citizen, has the right to voice their opinion. So does Cosatu.

They also have the right, like every other citizen, to engage in a peaceful march.

The issue raised by the DA touches a raw nerve as it speaks to the thorny question of unemployment.

Nothing stops the two parties from coming to the table to discuss this serious issue.

South Africa became the envy of many countries, including the so-called civilised world, when forces that held diametrically opposite views came together in Kempton Park to give birth to our democracy.

Cosatu, its unions and allies have called on its members to come in great numbers to ensure that the DA march does not materialise.

The power struggle between the DA and Cosatu should notturn nasty and physical.

The country has healthy platforms where such differences can be thrashed out.

The two parties represent South Africans, and it will not hurt to try harder to discuss issues of common interest, including ways of creating jobs for the millions who remain unemployed.

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