Thousands of South Africans are participating in a national strike to protest the growing cost of living. The strike is being led by two of the country’s largest unions, who are calling for a “complete closure” of the economy in protest of high unemployment and rising fuel and energy prices.
Marches are expected across the country, with the largest gatherings expected in Cape Town and Pretoria.
The unions want the government to set a cap on fuel prices, as well as lower borrowing rates and an income supplement.
Why this is happening
A third of South Africans are unemployed, and the country is suffering from the economic consequences of global events like Covid and the Ukraine war. While the organizers of Wednesday’s action claim they want to bring the country to a halt, they also admit that the number of people on the streets may be lower than in past years.
One of the protesters said “We’re tired. The cost of living is too high now – we can’t afford anything anymore and we’ve been without a [pay] increase for four years now, and things are getting hectic now. The government must intervene and do something now.”
What to expect
The administration claims that a no-work, no-pay policy will be implemented, and that critical personnel will be excluded.
However, unions believe this is only the beginning of a series of actions they’re willing to take until they receive results.