For decades, the 350,000-member National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) has been a pillar of support for the African National Congress.
JOHANNESBURG – Cape Town and Pretoria are expected to come to a standstill on Wednesday as thousands of people march against corruption.
According to the United Against Corruption campaign, quoting the Institute for Accountability, corruption in South Africa has cost at least R700-billion in the past 20 years.
The coalition of organisations and individuals has described, on its website, itself as “an opportunity to bring together, in a spirit of unity, all those people who view corruption as an assault on our Constitution’s promise of equality and dignity".
"The broad representation within the coalition signifies that South Africa has reached a tipping point where people are ready to overlook differences in order to protest against the damage that corruption has wrought on the country.”
The march is going ahead even though the National Union of Metal Workers of SA (Numsa), the biggest metal workers union in the country and the second biggest trade union, was not granted permission by National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to march on Wednesday.
However, on Friday Nedlac issued a certificate to the union that allows members to march in 14 days which means workers who choose to join the march will do so unprotected.
But this has not set back organisers from going ahead with the anti-corruption mass action.
“We are disappointed that many workers will not be able to participate tomorrow because of the cynical manipulation on Nedlac processes by government and business. The episode leaves little doubt about the priorities of government and business leaders in the fight against corruption,” said a statement from the Right2Know campaign which will join the march.
Dozens of organisations are joining the march, including Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Equal Education, Democracy Works, Section27, the Treatment Action Campaign and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
"On Wednesday we will march for justice. We will march in support of professional and unbiased investigative and prosecutorial services. We will march in support of our public protector, auditor-general and all other Chapter Nine institutions. And we will march in support of equal justice and equal accountability for all,” Reverend Mpho Tutu said in a statement.
Marchers will meet at Burger’s Park, in the CBD, from 11am before starting at 12pm.
They will move along Lilian Ngoyi Street, Francis Baard Street, Nelson Mandela Drive and Stanza Bopape before arriving at the Union Buildings.
In Cape Town:
Marchers will meet at the same time at Keizersgracht and the march will start at 12pm as well, moving along Darling, Adderly, Spin and Plein streets to Parliament.