One of the key departments targeted was the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), which was slammed for “snubbing” the march
A memorandum of demands was handed over to Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul during the Cosatu protest march in Kimberley on Wednesday.
The Northern Cape observed marches in Kimberley, Kuruman and Upington against state capture, corruption, gender-based violence (GBV) and unemployment.
The public sector was brought to a standstill as affiliates like the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), which had already downed tools on Tuesday and threatened to shut down Sol Plaatje Municipality services for the entire week, joined the strike action.
A call had also been made to workers who did not participate in the march to stay home and not report for duty.
In accepting the memorandum, Saul elaborated on the issue of absorption of contract workers at local government institutions.
Saul indicated that the provincial government remains committed to insourcing security guards, general workers at the Department of Health and ground workers at different institutions.
He said a full report was given to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).
Saul blamed the poor working relationship between unions and senior management for affecting the flow of communication to the workers.
He also highlighted the need to improve worker-employer relationships in the Northern Cape.
Saul promised that senior management would from now on meet with the union leadership at every department.
He added that he would present the issues raised by the unions at the Cabinet lekgotla that is under way.
Saul emphasised that in the fight against corruption, everyone needs to be held accountable, regardless of their position.
“If it is the face of Zamani Saul, I must be held accountable. If it is the face of the director general that is involved, he must equally be held accountable.”
He said he would respond to the memorandum within the specified 14 days.
One of the key departments that the march targeted was the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), which “snubbed” the handing over of the memorandum.
The private business sector also apparently “pulled a no show” after being invited to the memorandum handover.
The provincial secretary of Cosatu, Orapeleng Moraladi, expressed disappointment in the DMR’s snubbing of the march.
Moraladi vowed that there would be follow-up action against the DMR and also slammed the department for “failing” in ensuring compliance with the Mining Charter.
“The Mining Charter is not observed at many mining companies, but the DMR is not doing anything about that,” said Moraladi.
“There is a certain mine in the Province where the procurement is done in China. All those foreign workers get better salaries than locals and the DMR is ignoring that.
“The DMR is not doing anything with regards to compliance at the mines, while our workers continue to be exploited.
“The DMR is only serving certain people’s interests, that is why they snubbed the march.”
Cosatu provincial chairperson Zakes Mathiso highlighted the challenges faced by farm workers, which he accused inspectors from the Department of Labour of ignoring.
“Our farm workers suffer under the watchful eye of the inspectors of the Department of Labour because these farm owners are buying your inspectors. They are not protecting farm workers.”
Cosatu also called on the CCMA to mediate and see to it that workers get what is due to them from their employers.
In Kuruman, the march started at the open space close to ABSA bank and proceeded to the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, where a memorandum was handed over to the district mayor, Sophia Mosikatsi.
Cosatu also regarded its Upington march as a great success.