Cape Town – If President Cyril Ramaphosa signs a so-called sugary tax into law, “Ramaphoria will turn into Ramaphobia”, said Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) general secretary Katishi Masemola outside Parliament on Monday.
Around the lunch hour, about 120 supporters of FAWU and South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) picketed outside Parliament, with most seeking refuge from the sun underneath the trees close to Parliament’s visitors’ entrance.
FAWU handed a memorandum to a representative of Parliament. Their complaints were about the dumping of chicken products, the sugar tax, proposed liquor laws, labour law amendments, the minimum wage, and illicit trading.
READ: Sugary drinks tax a go
Masemola said citizens were living in a country which was one of the most unequal societies in the world, where two out of five people were unemployed and millions of South Africans experienced hunger every day.
“We’re living in a scandalous country,” he said.
He said according to Treasury’s own study, 5 000 to 8 000 jobs would be lost if the sugar tax was implemented, which would exacerbate the current figure of 40% unemployment.
FAWU president Atwell Nazo led a chant of “Down with industrialisation of this country, down!”
He said illicit trading was costing the country 10% of its GDP and robbed workers and the country of taxes.
He said jobs were shed and warehouses were mushrooming in the country, storing the goods imported, rather than factories being built that manufactured goods.
“We don’t want warehouses, we want industries,” he said.
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