Hundreds of people came together in Bloemfontein on Wednesday to voice their displeasure against alleged state capture, corruption and job creation in the country.
The Cosatu-led mass gathering started in the Batho location at 09:00, after which the respective groups proceeded through the CBD to the office of Premier Ace Magashule.
Among members of the public, the groups included religious groups, SACTWU, Nehawu, the SACP and NUM. They were adamant that President Jacob Zuma and all corrupt officials in the government be removed from office.
The masses further made it clear that they wanted the current deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to lead the country as the government of the day is simply not serving the needs of the people. They asked that the National Development Plan be reviewed, more specifically Section 189.
On the issue of renewable energy, all deals made with independent power producers should be cancelled. From a local perspective Cosatu also wanted the former Executive Mayor of the Manguang Metro Municipality, Thabo Manyoni, to take over as premier of the Free State. They further touched on the issue of Interstate Bus Lines’ prices, with members asking the bus service to not proceed with a proposed increase of bus fares for routes between Thaba Nchu and Bloemfontein. They also demanded that the bus service prioritise the safety of passengers. The memorandum of demands was handed over to the Free State MEC for Health, Butana Komphela. The mass protest action was earlier approved by the National Economic Development and Labour Council. The national spokesperson for Cosatu, Sizwe Pamla, said the gathering was a legally protected strike under Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act that allows all workers in South Africa, irrespective of their union affiliation, to withdraw their labour and join the strike. The march was closely monitored by members of the police and traffic department.
– MARK STEENBOK