SAFTU condemns in the strongest terms possible the arrest of its leaders in the Western Cape and demands their immediate and unconditional release
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) condemns the arrest and brutalisation of its leaders in the Western Cape by the trigger happy police in the strongest terms possible.
Comrades Andre Adams, the SAFTU Provincial Secretary in the Western Cape and comrade Nadine Simons, the chairperson of DEMAWUSA in the Western Cape, are being charged at the Cape Town central police station for an alleged breaking of the regulations.
These comrades formed part of several protestors who assembled at the Grand Parade this morning, intending to drive to parliament to stage a protest.
SAFTU had taken all the steps to comply with the regulations. We asked the workers to stay at home, and only a few of activists were to form part of the demonstrations in Cape Town, just like it was the case throughout the country. All our members had masks, sanitizers and observed social distancing.
Still, the police came with a two-line barb wire, surrounded the protestors, and ordered them to disperse. As law-abiding citizens, they complied and went into their cars to drive off; the police ordered them to ‘go home’ and pepper-sprayed them.
Compare this heavy-handedness and use of brute force to how the police treated thousands of the rich who ascended on the Cape Town beaches, defiantly wearing no masks and maintaining no social distancing. On this occasion, the police did not bring barbwire, batons, guns, pepper sprays, etc. Instead, of acting the President hurrying called a press conference to announcing the lifting the ban on swimming on the beaches, rivers and lakes, allowed restaurants to sell liquor and met most of the demands of the capitalist class.
This serves as a reminder that despite the official ending of apartheid in 1994, racism lives on. Secondly, we are reminded and that the state is an instrument of class rule. Workers who protest the brutalisation and dismal failure of the global capitalist system are subjected to the worse treatment not even reserved for worse criminals.
SAFTU will not be intimidated nor deterred by the police acting so inconsistently in the application of the regulations to favour the ruling class.