Pretoria – “Don’t force us to go on a proper strike, because the government will
lose that fight.”
Richard Baloyi, minister of civil service and administration, was given this
message on Tuesday when he received a memorandum in Pretoria.
Thousands of dissatisfied civil servants braved icy temperatures on Tuesday
morning and packed the lawns of the Union buildings.
The government was given “a last two days” to comply with civil service unions’
Unions are demanding, among other things, an 8.6% salary increase and an
increased housing subsidy of R1 000, back-dated from April 1.
The government is kicking in its heels at 7% and a housing subsidy of R630.
A sea of red marched on the Union buildings in Vermeulen Street on Tuesday,
disrupting traffic in the CBD.
Members of civil servants’ unions in the Cosatu stable and the independent
labour caucus (ILC) participated in the march.
Officials – young and old from all across the civil service spectrum – supported
the stay-away action.
Cosatu said it thinks government “got the message” and hopes the decision makers
will now stop their stubbornness.
Baloyi was given a chilly reception and was jeered throughout his speech which
he kept short.
He gave protesters the assurance that the memorandum will “get the necessary
attention it deserves”.
Union leaders and the government were set for further negotiations on Tuesday
night, but the meeting was postponed until Thursday night at the eleventh hour.
Chris Klopper, chair of the ILC and chief executive of the South African
Teachers Union (Satu), says they don’t expect a much better offer from
“We hope to have finality by the end of the week.”
Dumisani Nkwamba, the minister’s spokesperson, said on Tuesday afternoon that
the department is still trying to determine to what extent service delivery has
The department of home affairs said in a statement the strike has had a very
slight impact on its activities.
Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for this department, said only four out of 380
offices country-wide were forced to close their doors due to a lack of staff.
The officials have to report for work again on Wednesday. Unions could make a
decision by the end of the week regarding an indefinite strike.