The week in political activism - March 19, 2014

| Brent Meersman

This week we cover the NUMSA Day of Action for Youth Jobs and the TAC’s People’s Health Manifesto campaign.

NUMSA Day of Action for Youth Jobs

Today, 19 March, NUMSA marchers are gathering in main centre across the country to protest the lack of jobs for the youth. NUMSA believes South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 to 24.

The union has taken a dim view of government’s lack of effort to solve te problem, and calls government’s latest proposal, the Employment Tax Incentive Act, an ‘elastoplast’.

The union is demanding instead macro-economic policies that increase the demand for labour such as a tax system that penalises companies who pay out dividends instead of reinvesting in job-creating activities; credit and the lowering of the cost of capital for job-creating companies and sectors; a move beyond public works programmes to public-sector employment programmes; train apprentices, learners, experiential learners and interns to achieve qualifications; and a job-seekers grant or a basic income grant instead of a subsidy for employers.

The strike on 19 March is protected in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) as the unions have served notices to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).

The national strike is called by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) and Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural & Allied Workers’ Union (CSAAWU). The following organisations support the strike and Day of Action: DLF, MSC, PAWUSA, NEHAWU UJ Cleaners, MACODEFO, SOPA, SECC, GOLCOM, EFF (Vaal, Soweto), WASP, OKM, TCC, SAYRO, Sukumani Sinqobe, MUP, ZDLS, PPP, INCR, APDUSA, KL & SG.

Several civil society groups have joined the action.

In Cape Town, NUMSA marchers are gathering at Kaizergracht Street, opposite Castle and Good Hope Centre.

TAC’s Western Cape Health Manifesto launch draws in hundreds of people across Khayelitsha. Photo courtesy of TAC.

People’s Health Manifesto

In March, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) launched its ‘People’s Health Manifesto’. The manifesto puts 11 questions to all political parties. As parties submit their responses, the TAC is conducting a number of public dialogues, marches and other events as part of an effort to make politicians more responsive to the needs of communities. TheTAC will publish the responses they received from political parties to the 11 questions in the manifesto on 20 March.

The TAC’s main focus will be a march on 20 March in Mangaung, Free State.

“We chose the Free State due to the severe difficulties in that province’s health system and the lack of effective leadership from the provincial MEC for health Benny Malakoane and the Premier Ace Mashagule. While our focus will be in the Free State, we will also have events in six other provinces,” the TAC stated in its press release.

The TAC also held a community dialogue on 18 March Site B Hall in Khayelitsha, across from its offices.

The People’s Health Manifesto can be downloaded here.

TOPICS:  Economy Labour Politics

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