Thousands of South Africans are participating in a nationwide strike to show their opposition to the country’s rising cost of living.
Trade union federations Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have called on all non-essential workers to strike for the day on Wednesday, 24 August. Protest action is planned for most of the provinces, with thousands expected to join marches calling for government intervention in the cost of living crisis.
The country’s largest unions are leading the strike, calling for a “total shutdown” of the economy in protest against high unemployment levels, and rising fuel and electricity costs.
All provinces are anticipated to hold marches, with Cape Town and Pretoria perhaps hosting the biggest gatherings.
The unions demand an income stipend, a reduction in interest rates, and a government ceiling on fuel prices.
A third of the population of South Africa is unemployed, and the nation is struggling financially as a result of international conflicts like the Ukraine war and COVID.
Even if the action’s organizers claim they want to put the nation’s economy on hold, they have also conceded that the number of participants may not match that of prior years’ shutdowns.
According to the government, the no-work, no-pay principle will be in effect, and essential employees cannot participate.
However, unions assert that this is just the first in a succession of steps they’re prepared to take in order to get outcomes.