Thursday, August 25, 2022

"Don't moan. Mobilise or starve"

 People across South Africa are taking part in a nationwide strike in protest against the rising cost of living. Thousands marched towards the president's office, demanding reductions in prices. This is the most unequal country in the world, according to the World Bank, and many are finding things tough.

Inflation has hit nearly 8% - the highest in 13 years - and around a third of South Africans are unemployed. Thousands of protesters have been marching, chanting and holding signs echoing familiar complaints from workers around the world: "Say no to high inflation" and "Stop the steep increase in the price of petrol".

 On the march in Pretoria, one woman said she was on strike because,  "We're tired. The cost of living is too high now - we can't afford anything any more. It's school fees, it's transport, it's rent, it's everything."

Another protester explained, "Sometimes I don't have money so I have to go and take a loan - from the loan sharks. We don't manage. That's why we're here today - because we're struggling." 

Someone else said she spent almost half of her monthly income of $210 on transport. "And food is expensive right now. We can't buy full groceries- it's basics only."

A woman said: "At the end of the month we're left with nothing."

The country's two largest union groups, who called the strike, urged the government to intervene to cap fuel prices, reduce interest rates and introduce a universal basic income of roughly $90 (£75) a month.

South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) head, Zwinzilima Vavi, questioned how President Cyril Ramaphosa could give himself and ministers a 3% pay rise but refused their demands.

South Africans in nationwide strike in protest against cost of living - BBC News

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