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Reference
News Articles on the 7 March 2012 protests (2012) News Articles on the 7 March 2012 protests.  : -.

Summary
Western Cape

23 Cape schools close due to Cosatu protest
Lauren Isaacs (IOL News) 8 March 2012

Hundreds of pupils stayed at home on Wednesday as a result of the national protest action against labour broking and toll roads, forcing 23 schools to close.


Education MEC Donald Grant’s spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said the problem was particularly evident at schools in the city centre.

“We received reports of absenteeism at some of our ‘commuter schools’ … due to transport arrangements being affected,” she said, adding that the majority of schools continued to function as normal.


On Tuesday, Congress of SA Students president Bongani Mani called for pupils, students and teachers to participate in the one-day protest action.

At the time, Grant hit back by saying it was “irresponsible for organisations to call for teachers and pupils to partake in the protest action, and it showed callous disregard for the future of young people”.


When the Cape Times visited Gardens Commercial High School on Wednesday, principal Pieter Janse van Rensburg said that of their 560 pupils, only 60 had attended.

“We sent a circular to parents on Tuesday, informing them that the day would go ahead as any other normal school day,” he said.

“We have had to postpone tests to Friday and we are losing out on teaching hours, but I can also understand that some parents are afraid of letting their children travel to school using public transport.”

Only one of their 21 teachers had opted to participate in the protest, he said.

“With so few children, classes could not take place. Those here spent the day completing assignments.”


The deputy principal of St Paul’s Primary School, Carolyn Cannon, said half their teaching staff joined the march but returned to school shortly afterwards. She said 633 of their 800 pupils attended.


“This attendance is not usual. I would say parents felt uneasy about allowing their children to travel by bus, taxi or train.” At some schools in the northern and southern suburbs, principals said only a handful of pupils were absent. - Cape Times
lauren.isaacs@inl.co.za
http://www.iol.co.za

Cosatu: Cape protest ‘bigger than expected’
SAPA 7 March 2012

Cosatu's Cape Town protest was so successful because e-tolling and labour brokers spoke to national concerns about poverty, the union federation said on Wednesday.

“It wasn't just Cosatu... They (all the non-Cosatu affiliated members here) are concerned about the deepening levels of poverty in our country. It (the country) has to work for everybody,” provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich told Sapa after marchers dispersed.

“The 20,000 people who came to the march was one of the biggest turn ups in a while,” he claimed.

The City of Cape Town said protesters had not caused disruptions.

“It was a remarkably well-behaved march,” spokeswoman Kylie Hatton said.

Informal traders had been advised to close their stalls on Wednesday as a previous march resulted in their merchandise being destroyed.

“We emptied the bins in case. It's a standard operating procedure. They are a favourite target to set alight or to topple over.”

Hatton disputed Ehrenreich's figure of 20,000 people, saying police, counting the number of people per square metre, arrived at a figure of 8500.

She said Ehrenreich originally applied for a march permit for 5000 people but then changed this figure to 20,000 later.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce also noted the orderly and peaceful protest.

Chamber president Michael Bagraim, who earlier accepted a memorandum outside the City Hall, said: “This is a great improvement on previous protests where there have been unpleasant incidents of violence and vandalism.

“I think the protest was much smaller than the one we were promised, and I’m sure this helped the marshals to maintain order. They did very well and I hope that we see good order like this in future protests.” - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Tony Ehrenreich addresses marchers in Cape Town
www.iol.co.za

We will not tolerate labour brokers’
SAPA 7 March 2012

Marchers protesting against e-tolling and labour broking arrived at Parliament just before noon on Wednesday.

The area in front of the historic building was cordoned off with police tape around the Louis Botha statue to prevent crowds from nearing the gates.

Ten police officers in full crowd control gear kept a watchful eye over the Cosatu protest.

Undeterred, crowds took their hats off to sing the national anthem, while putting their fists in the air and flying the Cosatu flag.

One sign read: “Throw Botha off the horse and put Nelson Mandela on the horse.”

This was a reference to the statue of Anglo Boer War general Louis Botha at the entrance to Parliament.

Earlier, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich, standing on a truck and talking through a loudspeaker, told marchers outside City Hall that everyone was equally concerned about employment.

“In South Africa today, more than two million people are taking to the streets. We will not tolerate labour brokers.

“We want to make sure all people in our country have opportunities and prosperity... that's what we want to say today.”

Ehrenreich handed over a memorandum to a representative of Business Unity SA - who said he would pass it to Western Cape business.

He veered off the subject of e-tolling and turned to address Metrorail.

“Everyday our people are coming to work, trains are delayed, our people lose money. We must fix the train system.”

He said the buses were also politically selective in the passengers they chose to transport.

“The buses ride from Table View and Milnerton to pick up Democratic Alliance members but not from Khayelitsha.” - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Cape Town Cosatu march underway
SAPA 7 March 2012

Cosatu's march against e-tolling and labour brokers got underway before 11am in Cape Town on Wednesday, with protesters braving blistering heat to take part.

Earlier, the crowd which stretched about two city blocks, had taken shelter under the trees to avoid the direct sunlight. Others were singing and dancing on the street in circles carrying knobkerries.

A woman also drew the crowd's attention when, standing on the back of a Cosatu truck, broke into the controversial song “bring me my machine gun” - a trademark tune of President Jacob Zuma.

The crowd started converging on Keizersgracht around 8.30am.

Some school children in uniform also joined the gathering's ranks.

Members of a number of Cosatu affiliate unions had come out in support of the march and included the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and the SA Municipal Workers' Union.

A strong police contingent kept watch.

As the protesters moved towards city hall, a 47-year-old Athlone school teacher - who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation - said he was concerned that the number of teachers in schools was diminishing.

“I am here primarily because of teachers being given letters of dismissal with very little warning. These are experienced teachers leaving us with a void.”

A Cosatu marshal, who also asked not to be named, said he was optimistic that the march would get the attention of government.

“According to me we think there will be an answer from government. The agents (labour brokers) are using our people,” he said. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Gauteng

Staff had to join marches – teacher
Theresa Taylor and Kristen van Schie (IOL News) March 8 2012

Teacher Roy Wilkinson, from Jordao College, joined in the protest, asking: “Teachers are willing to strike for personal gain, but are they willing to strike for social gain?”

He and other teachers had decided it was important for them to get involved to protest against the e-tolls, despite not being Cosatu members.

So they divided up the school staff, leaving half behind to teach and sending the other half to the march, along with six pupils who had permission from their parents to represent the private school.

Wilkinson said each teacher at the school would lose between R400 and R700 a month if the tolling system came in.

“We are a small school but we need to have our say, to show it’s not just the rabble that get involved in these marches.”

Jack Bloom, the DA leader of the Gauteng legislature, was found walking around the perimeter of the march wearing a “Toll-free GP” t-shirt.

“I am not going on the march, I am just saying hello because we are very much in solidarity,” he said.

Bloom said it was a pity that Cosatu had not stuck to one issue in this protest.

“There are a lot of people who would have wanted to come on this march, but feel uncomfortable… People would have liked to come purely on the anti-toll issue,” he said, adding that DA members were welcome to participate in the protest action, but that “the DA as a party had not been made to feel welcome”.


Damien Grivas said: “It’s totally unfair. The roads belong to the people. We already pay enough tax.”

He was one of the few white Joburgers to join the march. There was an elderly couple in communist red. Some students. Some journalists. And Damien, with his handmade sign, “Our roads belong to everyone”.

“I get really angry that we’re paying taxes and we keep hearing about the government spending on expensive houses and cars, but the roads are a mess…

“If we really united against something, we could make a difference. But I see so few white people here. They’re just f***ing apathetic.”

– The Star
www.iol.co.za


ANC must listen to the masses - Juju
IOL News 7 March 2012

The ANC has to listen to the masses, embattled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema told anti-tolling protesters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"The march is not ANC, it is to ask that promises are kept. Cosatu is the one leading the march. The ANC must listen to the masses," he told the cheering crowd in the city centre.

Malema said "Mickey Mouse newspapers" would say only 30,000 people had turned out for the event, "but I see 150,000".

With Malema's arrival the crowd, which stretched back six blocks, picked up new vigour.

Marshalls could not contain protesters, spilling from Rissik Street on to De Korte, who rushed towards him chanting his nickname, "Juju, Juju".

After meeting the protesters, Malema left in a black Mercedes, before returning to address the crowd.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was also given a hero's welcome. As the protest got underway earlier, shops on Rissik Street closed their doors. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Cosatu march gets underway in Joburg
7 March 2012

Cosatu supporters protesting against the e-tolling system and labour brokers started marching from Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg around 10am on Wednesday.

Marshals were controlling the crowd, which had almost filled the square, while more protesters joined the throngs by the busload and on foot.

Protesters were converging on the square from all directions.

Earlier Aggie Semenya, who works for Joburg Water, said electronic tolling would eat into her already tight finances.

“I am striking to stop toll roads because I spend a lot already on transport and this is going to get worse. I travel from Soweto to Sandton every day.”

Vivian Buso said she was joining the nationwide strike because she wanted a full time job.

Fellow protester Justice Moloto said: “I want a full time job, that's is why I am supporting this protest. For 13 years I have worked for the post office, but because I was employed by a labour broker I stayed temporary, earning R2000 a month. I should be permanent, earning R8000 a month. Labour brokers must go.”

Obed Aphanye said he was worried about how e-tolling would affect his livelihood.

“I am here over the (toll) gates. As a driver I can see what these tolls are going to do to businesses and ordinary people. They cannot be allowed.” - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

'Middle class overtaxed. Life unaffordable'
7 March 2012

There was a heavy police presence at Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg's CBD on Wednesday ahead of the widely supported Cosatu nationwide protest.

While throngs of media set up satellite vans and camera equipment, red T-shirt clad members toyi-toyied up and down Simmonds street - some of them holding vuvuzelas and others knobkerries. One woman had even brought her guitar along for the march.

Supporters held placards reading: “Phantsi registrar of medical schemes phants” and “you must serve the people, not profits”.

Another said: “I gave up beer because of labour brokers.”

Hawkers were also capitalising on the event, selling fruit, cigarettes, chips and chocolates.

Maroza Hogana, a salesman who works at Telkom, arrived at the march in a suit and held a poster which read:” Middle class overtaxed. Life unaffordable.”

“I have a meeting at 11am but I have to be here to support,” he told Sapa.

He said he supported the banning of labour brokers and e-tolling. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Mpumalunga

Limpopo
Protest used to slate leaders – ANC
SAPA 8 March 2012

Cosatu's march in Polokwane was used to slate ANC leaders in Limpopo, the party in the province said on Thursday.

Cosatu supporters refused to let a Limpopo ANC representative speak to them during their protest on Wednesday, calling him a friend of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

They said they would not be spoken to by “the ANC of (premier Cassel) Mathale, and Malema, who are thieves”.

Limpopo ANC spokesman Makondelele Mathivha on Thursday said the comments were defamatory.

“This is equal to defamation of character with the full intention of not only harming his (Mathale's) good name, but also that of the ANC in the province,” he said in a statement.

“Cosatu must be careful that its honourable platforms to drive genuine causes for workers are not dragged through the mud and misused by individuals who harbour ill-intentions.”

Mathivha said the alliance partnership, between Cosatu and the ANC, must not be abused. The union federation's public platforms should be used to further the struggle of the workers.

“They must not allow themselves to be used by individuals who want to further unclear political agendas and mislead workers and the people of Limpopo. If Cosatu permits such actions to continue they run the risk of being viewed as anti-ANC.” – Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Protests affect Polokwane schools
SAPA 7 March 2012

The Congress of SA Trade Unions' nationwide protest affected schools in Polokwane on Wednesday, the Limpopo education department said.

Poor attendance of both teachers and pupils had been noted at most rural and township schools in the Polokwane and Burgersfort areas, spokesman Pat Kgomo said.

“I think the teachers' unions know very well that the policy of no work and no pay will apply.”

However, provincial government spokesman Tebatso Mabetselo said no government services were interrupted due to the Cosatu march.

“We have been rendering services as normal since this morning, and those who stayed away should expect that labour procedures regarding no work, no pay will apply.”

Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said no violence had been reported. - Sapa


Govt turns back on the people: Cosatu
SAPA March 2012

ANC NEC committee members in Limpopo were turning their backs on the plight of the workers, Cosatu said during a protest in Polokwane on Wednesday.

“These are the same national executive committee comrades who during voting campaigns come to our houses to shake hands without police, but now they are being protected by police as we come to remind them of their resolutions,” deputy secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali told a frustrated crowd outside premier Cassel Mathale's office.

He said Mathale and ANC Youth League leaders were not on the side of workers.

Ntshalintshali was forced to deliver a shorter speech as proceedings were constantly halted to control the crowd. Several times the insults aimed at ANCYL president Julius Malema and Mathale drowned out the speakers.

Cosatu provincial secretary Dan Sebabi told the protesters that workers would camp outside Mathale's official residence, Mowaneng, until he and “other corrupt leaders” resigned.

“We will turn it...(the residence) into Tahrir Square by serving a long vigil there,” he said, referring to focal point in Cairo of the Egyptian revolt which toppled president Hosni Mubarak last year.

A memorandum was received by an employee from Mathale's office, before the crowd made its way back to SABC Park, where more speeches were expected to be delivered.

Traffic was congested in the city centre. Police were trying to open and close intersections for the protesters to walk through. – Sapa


Protesters reject ANC speaker
IOL News7 March 2012

Cosatu supporters refused to be addressed by a Limpopo ANC representative in Polokwane on Wednesday, calling him a friend of youth league leader Julius Malema.

They said they would not be spoken to by “the ANC of (premier Cassel) Mathale, and Malema, who are thieves”.

This happened as protesters were gathering in the city to march in support of Cosatu's protest against e-tolling and labour brokers.

Most people in the crowd that had gathered in support of Cosatu's protest wore ANC badges and emblems.

SA Students Congress representative Themba Masondo, who was allowed to speak to the marchers, said students would always back workers.

“We say no to modern slavery because if you earn R100, labour brokers give you R30 and they get R70. Students will always be with workers, and please support us in our campaign for free education. We believe that through education we can earn decent salaries in future when we will be workers,” he said.

The crowd was expected to deliver a memorandum to the offices of Absa and Nedbank later on Wednesday. - Sapa


Teachers gather for strike in Polokwane
SAPA 7 March 2012

Teachers and other supporters of the Cosatu protest action huddled together at the SABC Park in Polokwane on Wednesday.

Seeking reprieve from the chill and drizzle, some chanted and blew their vuvuzelas while others tried to shelter under shop awnings.

Among the crowd, which was dressed in a variety of Cosatu affiliated unions T-shirts, was SA Democratic Teachers Union provincial chairman Ronnie Morwatshehla.

Morwatshehla, who is also Cosatu's provincial chairman, said most teachers were expected to attend the march.

“Sadtu is part of Cosatu and teachers are workers,” he said.

“Every school day, teachers sacrifice their time to work after hours and even offer lessons on weekends but nobody is complaining and they are not thanked for that.

“But now when we stand for our rights, people are complaining,” he said.

The protesters were expected to march to the department of labour, banks and Shoprite-Checkers later on Wednesday. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Eastern Cape

North West

Northen Cape

KwaZulu-Natal

Durban tallies the cost of strike
Lungelo Mkamba and Sapa-Reuter 8 March 2012

Delayed flight delays, poor customer service and low production rates are the effect of Cosatu’s march.



Free State

Bloem Cosatu march underway
SAPA 7 March 2012

Protesters continued to file onto Maitland Street in Bloemfontein on Wednesday as Cosatu's march against e-tolling and labour brokers got underway.

Marchers, wearing red and yellow, were planning to walk to the labour department and the Free State government's administrative offices in the Lebohang building.

The gathering was peaceful, and was being closely watched by riot police.

Unlike the march underway in Johannesburg, shops stayed open for business. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Cosatu supporters gather in Bloem
SAPA 7 March 2012

Hundreds of people had started to gather at Batho Hall in Bloemfontein on Wednesday morning, ahead of a nationwide Congress of SA Trade Unions protest.

The crowd, which continued to swell by the minute, was dressed in yellow and red. They appeared in a relaxed mood as they danced, sang and held placards reading: “Stop e-tolling”.

There were no police in sight.

Nearby school children were helped safely across the road by a uniformed scholar patrol.

There was no visible change to traffic flow and taxi ranks were operating as usual.

Cosatu is protesting in 32 areas across the country against the e-tolling system and labour brokers. - Sapa



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