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Anti-corruption march hangs in the balance

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The much-anticipated anti-corruption march by civil society hangs in the balance after the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) shocked the organisers by giving permission for a later date only.

Although a final decision on whether to proceed had not been taken by all the organisers, one of the march leaders, former general secretary of labour federation Cosatu Zwelinzima Vavi, says it will go ahead as planned.

On Friday morning Nedlac gave the go-ahead for Numsa to participate in the protest. However, the certificate allowing the march would become valid only in two weeks’ time. Should Numsa members join the march, they will not be protected and face losing their jobs.

Speaking to City Press on Saturday, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim says he believes Nedlac played hide-and-seek with them in a deliberate strategy to spite them.

“Numsa followed protocol for protected protest action,” he said.

“We are viewing this as a sham. They have never done this with Cosatu, but they are doing it to us. These are not the actions of a neutral organisation.”

He added that they were considering their options legally and had not, as yet, made a decision on whether they would go ahead and participate in the march unprotected.

When City Press asked whether the march would go ahead without Numsa, Jim said a final decision would be made, possibly by Monday.

Nedlac’s actions appear to be just another nail in the coffin of the march. The protest has faced a number of challenges over the past few months, resulting in a postponement.

When City Press met Vavi on Friday, he was fairly confident the march would still go ahead as planned.

“I don’t care if the march happens on Wednesday, or if it will be postponed by legal challenges. It is not an event. It is a process that we have started to hold our government and the private sector accountable,” Vavi said.

“We are not at all surprised that Cosatu connived with business and the so-called community constituency and Nedlac to sabotage the right of workers to embark on a protected strike in South Africa because Cosatu can no longer unite workers.

“It has been stolen, it can never lead these struggles because it has been domesticated.”

Vavi denied allegations that the march was meant to settle a score with Cosatu, to take a shot at President Jacob Zuma or to launch a new federation.

“Cosatu has no interest whatsoever in campaigning against corruption because if they were to do so, that would be problematic for their own ambitions to become ministers in the future.” News24

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