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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU Joins Anti-Burma Picket

14 October 1999

COSATU’s General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi will join a picket at Nasrec today, Wednesday 20 October 1999 protesting against the participation of the Burmese military junta currently attending the South African International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX) a t Nasrec - Johannesburg.

The picket begins at 12 O’clock outside the exhibition venue. COSATU yesterday issued a statement raising its disquiet about the Burmese participation at the Exhibition.

Press Release October 19 1999

Cut ties with the Burmese Guillotine regime

THE CONGRESS OF SOUTH AFRICAN TRADE UNIONS is shocked to learn that representatives of the Burma military junta are participating in the South African International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX) that is currently underway in Nasrec - Johannesburg.

The Burmese military junta forcibly overthrew a democratically elected government after the country’s democratic elections in May 1990. (see http://metalab.unc.edu//freeburma) Since then, the Gestapo has inflicted untold misery on the people of Burma: forced slave labour, child labour, arrested political activists, conducted extra-judicial killings banned all political and labour organisations.

In this context, COSATU believes that South Africa must cut all ties with the Burma regime. Which is why, we are disturbed by the exhibition director, Johan Theron’s remarks, when driven by commercial interests he said:

“We are pleased to have attracted Myanmar (the name the military gave Burma after the overthrow of the democratically elected government in 1990). This is a breakthrough, a link up from Africa to a potentially lucrative developing country that until n ow has been a closed book to us.”

We call on the expulsion of the Burmese representatives from the exhibition and the condemnation of the military’s cruel deeds on the people of Burma.