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with the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe!
of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
April 03, 2007
and Zimbabweans living in South Africa, will be marching in Johannesburg
on Tuesday 3 April in solidarity with our comrades in the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), as they embark on their two-day
national stayaway in protest against slavery wages and the attacks
on workers' and human rights by the Mugabe government.
COSATU is giving its
full support to its trade union comrades in Zimbabwe, as they struggle
against an economic catastrophe and more and more vicious attacks
on their members and leaders. Speakers will include COSATU General
Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.
The crisis in Zimbabwe
scaled new heights last month, with Gift Tandare's savage
murder and the arrest, beating and torture of leaders of the two
MDC factions and other government opponents. The latest outrage
is the abduction by soldiers of nine MDC activists from the hospital
where they were recovering from beatings while in police custody.
The government is ruthlessly
trampling on human rights to try to crush the resistance of opposition
parties, civil society organisations and trade unions.
Meanwhile the economy
is collapsing. Annual inflation is now over 1,700% - the highest
in the world. Unemployment is around 80%. Many people survive on
grain handouts and an estimated 3 million people - around 28% of
the population - have fled into neighbouring countries looking for
work. Many Zimbabwean doctors, nurses, teachers and others with
scarce skills do any menial job on offer in the region.
There are regular shortages
of food, fuel and foreign exchange. Maize production has dropped
to less than what people need to survive. Average life expectancy
is now the lowest in the world - less than 37. The country is among
the worst hit by HIV/Aids pandemic, with 18% of the adult population
No wonder Zimbabwean
workers are taking to the streets, at huge personal risk, to say
that enough is enough.
COSATU welcomes the spirit
of unity displayed by the two MDC factions on 10 March, who appeared
in a public event together, and hopes that this heralds the emergence
of unity in support of democracy and human rights.
There are no quick-fix
solutions for Zimbabwe's economic, political and social woes, but
the key to any solution has to be the broadest possible mass movement,
led by the organised working class. Only the united resistance of
the people can force President Mugabe to engage directly with the
ZCTU, the opposition parties business and civil society and open
the road to democracy.
We call upon the governments
of South Africa and the rest of the continent to condemn the Zimbabwe
government's human rights abuses and undemocratic actions.
International solidarity, from Zimbabweans and others, played a
key role in the liberation of South Africans from apartheid. Now
is the time to repay our debt to today's freedom fighters
We back the ZCTU's
* Minimum wages and
salaries linked to the Poverty Datum Line (PDL)
* Reduction of Income Tax to a 30% maximum.
* Workers earning below the PDL (84 000 as at August 2006) not to
* Availability and free access to Antiretrovirals (ARVs)
* Stabilisation of prices of basic commodities
* A stop to harassment of informal economy workers by local authority
police and the ZRP
must condemn attacks on human rights! Defend
democracy and workers' rights!
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