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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.