About 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 government a chance. A year has passed since that literally filthy municipal workers strike and South Africa finds itself in a similar mess of an altogether different magnitude.
Earlier yesterday COSATU, South Africa’s biggest trade union federation called on all of its members to join the 1.3 million government workers that are already striking. This call follows a court injunction obtained by government prohibiting public sector workers from continuing the national strike. The government has already dispatched military medics to over 30 hospitals around the country as a short-term emergency move.
Pay is once again the key driving factor for the nation-wide strike. The unions are demanding an 8.6% increase in wages to which government has responded with an offer of a 7% increase. The unions don’t appear to care that their demanded increase amounts to roughly double the current rate of inflation.
In the meantime, World Cup fever has subsided and the real effect of the transport workers strikes earlier this year is beginning to demonstrate its true damage. Adjusted South African economic growth this year is predicted to be 2.9% – signficantly short of the estimated 7% a year required to make a significant impact on South Africa’s whopping 25.3% unemployment rate. Finance minister Pravin Gordhan certainly has his work cut out for him.
“Schools are shut, hospitals barricaded and roads blocked.”
… BBC news
In the meantime, the workers that are striking are blocking patients from entering hospitals, and verbally and physically assaulting colleagues that have chosen to continue working. A number of schools across the country have had to be shut down to prevent placing school children at further risk from violent behaviour. Way to lead by example teachers. Wonkie is certain that Mr Zuma is expressing his deepest concern and promising yet another hard line approach to resolving the issue… from somewhere in China.