Jacob Zuma strike action cartoon

Jacob Zuma strike action

The Empire Strikes Back

Last week, striking municipal workers in South Africa emptied loads of trash onto the streets during mass protests demanding a wage increase. The action involved some 150,000 municipal workers across the country stopping work demanding to receive a 15% pay hike. While it is easy to say “Don’t they know there’s a recession on?“, it is worth remembering that the people at these salary levels barely make enough income to provide themselves with the bare necessities. One of the key drivers for the strikes is food price inflation.

President Jacob Zuma condemned the unrest and the strikes and rightly declared a hardline approach to disorderly behaviour. In Limpopo Province, police were reported to have fired rubber bullets to disperse strikers. Today the relay of strikes continued with many Telkom workers joining in on the festivities.

These are challenging times for Zuma who promised voters that he would ease poverty during his Zuma Zuma Promises Promises election campaign earlier this year. Wonkie, though irritated by the strikes, is glad that the public is holding Zuma to account for delivering on his commitment. Talk is cheap.


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  1. yep,this is really turning ugly, with the possibility of eskom employees embarking on industrial action,this could be the last straw into sinking the newly elected leadership that promised all the good things during elections campaign,it is so unfair yet the recession doesn’t help the lower classes,

  2. Mark Khoza says

    i’m sure about it being last straw, this morning while waiting in the queue at the taxi rank teachers were already out there with their picketing tools

  3. the action by eskom employees should be avoided at all costs , the timing is crucial,think we are just from month end,weekend and fortnight payments , fridges are fully packed as we are advised to budget and spend wisely , but what if no agreement reached and the whole country is dealt with the blackout , think of the darkness let alone be the stinking air polluted by rotten cold meats,that would endorse the life threating swine flu infections.

  4. ‘Give the new Government a chance’ my foot!! They have all been around for 15 years. Zuma was deputy pres. while Mbeki was gadding around in the corridors of power of other countries. If it weren’t for the COPE rebellion he would not have made all the sudden promises about service delivery, anti-corruption and holding incompetant non-performers accountable. Now he is standing back and waiting for others to sort out the strikers.
    Although I do not agree with all the violence and trashing, but maybe it is the only way the gov will take notice. And they had better take notice quickly – remember the French Revolution? Gov can start by pulling in their own belts in solidaritry with the poor masses. But no! they did not forment a revolution for ‘a better life for all’. Most of ‘them’ were in the revolution because they wanted to get their snouts into the money trough. 11 million bucks spent in the Free State on new Mercs while there is a shortage of medication at the clinics! Enough said.

  5. Zuma is a human being and is therefor prone to err. However going out to promise people was very wrong of him bcos now if u take into account what he said one is inclined to say there was an agreement of promise between him and the electorates. the electorates made their perfomance according to specifications in throwing their weight behind him and the legal expectation is he must come into the fold.

    MARK MY WORDS THEY R NOT WRONG IN DEMANDIND PERFORMANCE ON ZUMA”S PART especially if you are to look at the issue in a very principled manner,also giving regard to the latin principle that says,”nemo plus juris rule” which means you cannot give more than you have…zuma should know better! That there is an economic melt-down is very much the truth and must as a result be given regard to and at the same time one should be able to check properly at the time at which the promise agreement was made and the time recession first took root. I am inclined to say by the time Zuma had to go out promising recession was there which make him very much liable to the contract made with voters…unless he was lying [former & late mpumalanga premier comrade Ndaweni Mahlangu once set the public talking when he says”politicians have the right to lie”] to them then he can relax but still has to go back to the people and say i was lying. What ever we do we must be responsible! Lying and erring are two different things.

  6. Innocent Mawera says

    I think wonkie’s comments about Zuma clearly shows that he is anti-Zuma-Every one in the Election build ups made promises (Except zille who was promoting her stop Zuma campaign) and now Zuma has won. He is trying his best to live up to expactations not meaning that He was not going to do it, but give him a chance, He deserves it.

  7. Innocent – Wonkie is not Anti-Zuma. Zuma did go all out promising the world to everyone as you quite rightly point out most politicians do. In raising expectations of the masses with his promises to ease their poverty and suffering, he should now fully bear the consequences of not being able to fulfill on his promises. It so happens that these consequences are taking the form of mass protests and strike action.

    Wonkie is glad you feel Zuma is trying his best to live up to expectations. Sadly, the poor people of this country don’t seem to think he’s trying his best and this is clearly demonstrated by their actions – that is all Wonkie wants to say in this article – there is no gripe against Mr Zuma at all. The challenge that now lays in front of him is to manage the expectations of the masses whilst still trying to maintain some credibility that his promises were not just the usual cheap election talk we’ve come to expect.

  8. It all seems to be about the poor masses believing politicians’ promises before every election. I suppose few people can be blamed for failing to distinguish between a politician and a municipal official, but the trouble seems to come from promises made and broken, made and broken, made and broken. One can only hope the penny drops, the problem being of course – that politicians represent the principle of democracy. So digesting and acting on the spur that a politician and an official are two different things is obviously something that’s going to be left to the masses. Semaj.

  9. A perfomance needs a starting point.a person needs to be challenged in either way you have to force the challenge. I’m sure Mr Zuma knows where to start nw.

  10. Wonkie, get your facts right. The strikes & delivery protests shouldn’t be considered that the public is holding President Zuma to account for election promise, only 3 months you think the public should hold him to account. Please get your facts in order next time. Don’t just comment with an attitude like opposition parties, sitting comfortable in your house, our people are suffering.

  11. @Mikateko – I’m not sure what facts you’d like Wonkie to get in order. Whether you like it or not, the mass protests are largely an expression of the gap between the expectations the ANC raised about easing poverty and the reality that has come to bear on the South African working class. We are not commenting about whether the timing for this is right or not – for President Zuma it clearly is not and certainly 3 months into his tenure does not give him time to make an impact personally.

    The fact remains, as Tanni accurately describes in an earlier comment – the ANC government has been in power for 15 years and these promises to the working class have been extended repeatedly. Wonkie fully expects the public to hold officials to account for the promises that were made. Mr Zuma didn’t hold back in making the same promises during his election campaign but then realism rarely wins elections for any party.

    As for your comment about opposition parties – perhaps it’s worth listening to what they have to say once in a while instead of blindly following the incumbent leadership. Believe it or not, some people outside the ANC government do care about the poor in our country.

  12. I gave zuma-supporters time til this holiday season before asking if any of them found any of the 500, 000 jobs he was going to create before the end of the year!
    Hello; is there anybody out there?


  1. […] a year ago, Wonkie made a strikes in South Africa cartoon with president Jacob Zuma appealing to the masses to remain calm and to give the new […]

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