By SA News
The planned Cosatu industrial action has the potential to damage the South African economy, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) has warned.
“The impact could vary considerably depending on the extent of the protest activity and the duration, ranging from simply depriving the economy of labour to more serious impacts on economic infrastructure,” said SACCI CEO Neren Rau on Tuesday.
Cosatu is set to embark on countrywide protest action against labour brokers, the casualisation of labour, attempts to restrict the right to strike and the imposition of e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways on Wednesday.
A total of 32 marches have been planned across the country, with mass participation expected in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
According to SACCI, South Africa on a global scale has one of the highest levels of protest action and is on the watch lists of ratings agencies’ for a sovereign downgrade. The chamber warned that the planned strike could trigger a downgrade.
“SACCI believes that the protest action against the Gauteng toll fees is unconstructive and counterproductive,” said Rau.
Government has approved the implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme (GFIP) which comes into effect at the end of April.
“By lowering the tax income through reduced economic activity the probability that alternative solutions of funding the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project through fiscal means is diminished. What is needed is dialogue between the social partners on alternative funding options.
“SACCI believes that a more appropriate way to deal with the union’s concerns relating to both the proposed toll fees and to labour brokering is through robust debate and sober political dialogue,” said SACCI.
On the matter of labour brokers the chamber said it would have expected a compromise to be reached through NEDLAC channels of which the union is a key constituent.
“SACCI believes that solutions that will be to the benefit of South Africa can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation,” said Rau.
Meanwhile, Cape Town and Johannesburg residents have been warned of the road closures and traffic congestion as a result of the protest marches.
Motorists have been urged to use alternative routes or avoid the city centre.
In Cape Town protestors are expected to gather at Keizersgracht from 10am, proceed down Darling Street at 11am, and then stop at City Hall to hand over a memorandum to Transnet and the Cape Chamber of Business.
The group will continue on Darling Street, turning left into Adderley Street, left into Spin Street, then into Plein Street and to Parliament, where they will hand over a memorandum to the Minister of Labour.
They are expected to disperse by 2pm.
While in the Johannesburg CBD, protestors will gather at Library Gardens. They will march to the Premier’s Office, Chamber of Mines, SEISSA and the Department of Transport and Roads.
SAPS and the Metro Police will be deployed to the affected streets.