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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU backs ZCTU protest

17 November 2003

The Congress of South African Trade Unions fully supports the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)'s National Protest scheduled for Tuesday 18 November at 12.30.

The protest, which precedes the National Budget announcement on 20 November, is against the deteriorating economic and political situation in Zimbabwe and government's lethargic approach to solving the crisis, in particular the high levels of taxation, ever-rising prices and cost of living, and the violation of human and trade union rights.

COSATU is alarmed to hear that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have threatened to quash the protest. ZRP spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, is quoted as having said: "Any illegal demonstrations targeted at disturbing peace and stabi lity in this country will be dealt with in terms of the law". He went on to term the protest an illegitimate demonstration, even though the ZCTU had notified them of the protest, as required by the Public Order and Security Act. We agree with the ZCTU that there is no valid reason for the Police not to let the protest go ahead and views this statement as a blatant misinterpretation and contempt of the law by the Police.

COSATU recalls that in the ZCTU demonstration on 8 October, police arrested 165 trade unionists and some were severely assaulted. The federation calls upon the government and President Robert Mugabe not to interfere with the ZCTU's bonafide trade union activities and to let the workers of Zimbabwe express their feelings over the mess the econom y is in. Trade unionists throughout the world will take a very serious view of any arrests or assaults of ZCTU activists during tomorrow's protest.

Patrick Craven Acting COSATU Spokesperson