THOUSANDS of people will converge on the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton today to join a march for decent jobs for the youth.
National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) provincial leader Pumzile Nodongwe said at least six buses would pick up workers from East London, and several taxis would collect supporters in Mthatha, Butterworth, Grahamstown, Humansdorp and other areas.
Nodongwe said union members and their supporters would march to the Port Elizabeth city centre where they would hand over a memorandum.
Numsa president Andrew Chirwa and suspended South African Democratic Teachers’ Union president Thobile Ntola are scheduled to be the keynote speakers.
Their main support would be workers from Port Elizabeth and surroundings, as well as social movements and other Cosatu affiliates, Nodongwe said.
Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said marches would also be held in cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Bloemfontein.
Since the beginning of the year, Numsa had built a broad coalition with other civic organisations with the aim of forcing the government and employers to take concrete steps to address youth unemployment, Ngobese said.
Unions and civic movements such as the Industries Workers Union of South Africa, the Soweto Electricity Crisis Campaign, the Equal Education movement, and the Right2Know campaign were partnering Numsa in various actions.
He assured workers the strike action “will be protected, and no employer will be able to dismiss workers for participating in this action”.
Numsa has been at odds with the Cosatu central executive committee over its failure to reinstate the federation’s suspended general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.
According to a schedule the union distributed late yesterday, Vavi is expected to flout committee rules by addressing the KwaZuluNatal rally which will start at the Durban City Hall at 10am today.
Numsa’s general secretary, Irvin Jim, has been deployed to address a similar march in Gauteng, while his deputy, Karl Cloete, will be the keynote speaker in Bloemfontein. – Zine George