Cosatu march in Cape Town: “Zuma and Zille are the same”

COSATU strike infront of the provincial legislature in Cape Town. Photo by Mzi Velapi

“They both got money from the Guptas, but Zille claims she took it back but we know how she can lie.” According to Ehrenreich both President Zuma and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille have used state resources to get their sons into business.

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

About 3,500 Cosatu members heeded the call by the trade union federation to come out in numbers against state capture and corruption. The Cape Town leg of the nationwide strike, led by the trade union federation and the South African Communist Party, saw the SACP hand memorandums to the provincial legislature and the national parliament, as well as to the regional offices of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. The rail company was recently charged for “reckless endangerment” by Cosatu provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich.

Handing the memorandum to PRASA regional manager, Richard Walker, Ehrenreich said the service from Metrorail has deteriorated over the years. “Last year Metrorail operated with 80 trains but only 66 train sets.  You know in the old days trains used to have between 9 and 10 coaches but now trains have 6 coaches. Metrorail still puts out a train schedule and sell tickets based on the 80 trains. All of these things lead to trains being overcrowded and it puts lives of ordinary people in danger.”

Later, SACP first Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Cronin said the national management of PRASA and some politicians have looted billions of rand of Metrorail money. “They bought trains through a corrupt tender, locomotives that don’t fit into the rail system, they are too high to go under the bridges” said the former Deputy Minister of Transport.

Cosatu strike in Cape Town

The protest action then meant to move to the Democratic Alliance-led provincial legislature but Cosatu provincial chairperson, Motlatsi Tsubane, said the plan had changed because the premier indicated that she would not avail herself to receive the memorandum. The marchers would not accept it and started chanting calls to go to the provincial government. The protest then moved to Wale street.

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“Zuma and Zille are the same!” shouted Ehrenreich. “They both got money from the Guptas, but Zille claims she took it back but we know how she can lie.” According to Ehrenreich both President Zuma and Western Cape premier Helen Zille have used state resources to get their sons into business. “Zuma used the state to get his son  get ahead in business. Two months ago she told the Department of Education to give her son 40 laptops so that they can do a program that they make profits from, so Zille and Zuma is exactly the same.”

The strike was also used by Cosatu to formally endorse Cyril Ramaphosa. The songs were clear that they support the Deputy President to rise to the highest office in the land. Cosatu national treasurer, Freda Oosthuysen: “We are saying as national office bearers of Cosatu with the mandate from the Central Executive Commitee (CEC), that comrade JZ please step down. We are fed up of your nonsense, we want change. As the CEC of Cosatu we pronounce CR17 for president.”

Popcru Western Cape secretary, Mncedisi Mbolekwa, SACP first Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin and Cosatu national Treasurer, Freda Oosthuysen, at the Cosatu strike in Cape Town. Photo by Mzi Velapi

In an interview with Elitsha later in the day, Oosthuysen said that they support Ramaphosa because he is not corruptible. “He is a perfect leader because he has his own money,” she said. Asked about Ramaphosa’s involvement in Marikana, she said that he is not the only person who was involved. “There were other people involved and not only him and the government has to answer for the Marikana massacre not only Cyril.”

Earlier this week, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) had asked its members not to participate in the strike and give up a day’s wages to help the leadership of Cosatu fulfil a narrow political agenda. “Workers should not sacrifice their earnings for a Cosatu leadership which has sold out the working class, just so that it can have access to a corrupt ANC leadership and its patronage networks,” NUMSA said in a statement.

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In response to this Cosatu national Treasurer said that both the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) and the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) were both supportive of the strike. “They both signed the declaration at Nedlac,” said Oosthuysen. 

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