Photos: Unemployed marched to parliament

Among the demands of the unemployed, they want the government to introduce a basic income grant of R1,500. All photos by Nobathembu Ndzengu

The unemployed say that the Covid-19 social relief grant of R350 does not meet their basic needs.

On Wednesday, unemployed and marginalised workers and communities marched to the City of Cape Town and to parliament to deliver an “alternative budget speech”. About 1,000 mainly young people and activists from the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal marched under the umbrella of the Cry of the Xcluded. They delivered memorandums to the City of Cape Town and to parliament as the minister of finance, Enoch Godongwana, was delivering his budget speech.

Protesters making their way to the City of Cape Town offices to hand over their memorandum.

The Cry of the Xcluded wants the government to attend to the poor state of municipalities, gender-based violence and patriarchy, attacks on foreign nationals and the crisis in the healthcare sector.

Protesters sat on the road in response to the chant “Ayihlale phants’ ibamb’ umthetho”.

The protest was marked by a heavy police presence. Police formed a cordon in front of the City of Cape Town offices as protesters approached the municipal offices.

The protesters that Elitsha spoke to emphasised that the R350 social relief of distress grant does not meet their basic needs, and therefore were supporting the call for a basic income grant of R1,500.

Waiting for the mayor to receive memorandums from the South African Municipal Workers Union and Treatment Action Campaign. The mayor of course sent a representative.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) memorandum raised the issue of cuts in the health budget and the state of public healthcare centres around the country. The organisation wants an explanation for the closure of clinics in Cape Town: in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Samora Machel.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) on the other hand is demanding the filling of 10,000 low-level vacancies, and the end of the exploitation of cheap labour under the Expanded Public Works Programme.

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The TAC and SAMWU handing over memorandums to the City of Cape Town representative.
The municipal workers union collected job application forms from unemployed people who were at the march to submit to the City of Cape Town.
Protesters sat in front of parliament under the scorching sun as they waited for a representative of the finance ministry to receive their memorandum.

According to the Cry of the Xcluded, the burden of unemployment “falls disproportionately on black working class youth (74%) and black working class women (approximately 50%), compared to the national average (expanded definition) of 46%. It is this virus of unemployment which undermines the social fabric and contributes to increased levels of crime, violence, xenophobia and other social tensions”.

The representative of the Minister of Finance, a senior official from the national treasury, accepted the memorandum.

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