Workers, members and affiliates of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU)together with movements across the country which included Inyanda National Land Movement, Commercial Stevedoring Agriculture and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) and Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, embarked on a strike and National Shutdown on 24 August 2022.
The #ShutDown was in response to the deteriorating living conditions of the working- class. In its Memorandum of Grievances and Demands SAFTU explains that, “The living conditions of the working-class majority in this country have declined, and continue to decline, because of the intersection of multiple crises created by capitalism and the mismanagement of the government of the African National Congress (ANC).”
SAFTU’s demands from government:
Jobs for the unemployed.
A Basic Income Grant of R1500 to address the levels of poverty amongst the unemployed.
We demand the lowering of the food, fuel, electricity prices and interest rates.
Eskom must not be privatised or hollowed out. Eskom’s CEO, Andre de Ruyter, the Board, and the entire government of the ANC must step aside.
Reduce the electricity tariffs and make electricity affordable to the poor. Scrap the odious debt owned to the bank by Eskom.
The Eskom tariffs must not be increased as a way of attracting and assuring private capitalists in the energy industry of profitability, as this makes electricity more expensive and unaffordable to working class people.
A minimum living wage of R72 per hour (R12,500) for workers.
End the rampant crime and violence. Arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of all violence, including against women and children. Transform the criminal justice system, train, and employ more police to ensure that the country is in a better position to fight crime.
Climate Justice: more renewables and more public investment in Eskom, and the creation of climate jobs.
The re-nationalisation of Sasol, Iscor, SAA, and other SOEs that this ANC government has sold partially or in full, and a full makeover at Denel, PRASA, PetroSA, Transnet, etc., to reflect social and labour needs.
Reverse the budget cuts and increase government spending in critical areas of service delivery.
Expand the public sector wage bill so that more teachers, nurses, police, correctional officers, social workers, and traffic officers can be hired and are better paid.
Immediate insourcing of all security and cleaning, community healthcare, early childhood development, and EPWP workers.
Land restoration and distribution, including ensuring food sovereignty and security.
Address the education crisis to improve the standard so that we can not only better equip the youth but can ensure that it plays a meaningful role in the economy.
Address the health crisis, stop budget cuts, employ more healthcare workers, invest to address the infrastructure backlogs and introduce the National Health Insurance.
Invest in local government infrastructure to ensure we eliminate the bucket system, address the water crisis, storm water drainage system, etc.
Regulate and cap petrol, diesel, and paraffin increases. Subsidise the taxi industry in the same way as the private bus industry receive a subsidy from the government. Today 80% of workers use taxis to and from work.