Picture: REUTERS/Matthews Baloyi (SOUTH AFRICA)- Members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) marched through the streets of Johannesburg, to protest against a jump in electricity, food and fuel prices on July 23, 2008. A 10 000 strong march is currently underway in Klerksdorp.

Police disperse crowd on Beyers Naude

Metro police have dispersed 2000 protesters who were burning tyres on the Honeydew stretch of Beyers Naude Drive in Johannesburg today.

Spokesman Wayne Minnaar says police addressed the crowd who had gathered in support of the Congress of SA Trade Unions’ march over rising electricity prices, and asked them to disperse.

The crowed complied with the request and police removed the burning tyres.

Minnaar says “they are going to monitor the situation the whole day because these protesters might return”.

Minnaar says Metro police and the SA Police Service were on the scene.

Earlier today the protesters danced and sung in the road, blocking Beyers Naude Drive as far as Peter Road in Honeydew.

Beyers Naude has since been opened and the traffic is flowing freely.

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Department receives Pretoria protesters’ memo

The Congress of SA Trade Unions says Electricity tax should not be borne by the poor.

This the trade union federation says when it handed over a memorandum of grievances to the Department of Minerals and Energy shortly before 1pm.

The memorandum — which was received by department spokesman Bheki Khumalo — called on government to invest in power generation and the launch of an energy efficient campaign.

Khumalo gave his apologies to the protesters on behalf of the minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, who was not available.

He says Sonjica was in the Democratic Republic of Congo to discuss electricity issues between the two countries.

The protesters, wearing red T-shirts and some holding sticks, then continued peacefully down Visagie Street towards the Union Buildings while a police helicopter flew overhead.

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Cosatu says More than 10,000 workers have gathered on Oliver Tambo street in Klerksdorp this morning for the protest against rising prices of food, fuel and electricity.

North West Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesman Solly Phetoe says they have over 10,000 workers picketing outside Shoprite Checkers on Oliver Tambo Street, ready to start the march at 10 am.

They will march to the Department of Labour to deliver a memorandum.

Phetoe says they were expecting more than 60,000 workers from the entire province to take part in the protest against rising living costs.

Phetoe says they have buses collecting people throughout the province and so far the turnout is great.

Oliver Tambo and Anderson streets, in Klerksdorp were closed already as these two were the streets where workers would be marching.

Police spokesman Superintendent Lesego Metsi says there was no public transport in the province due the stay away but everything was running “smooth” so far.

Few workers who decided not to join the protest were seeking lifts on the road as there are no buses or taxis.

DURBAN PREPARING FOR COSATU MARCH

While thousands of workers were gearing up for Cosatu’s national protest action in Durban today, several shops in the city centre remained open.

Workers across the country were expected to take to the streets by 10am in a protest over rising prices of food, fuel and electricity.

While the majority of businesses had their shutters pulled down, Shoprite in Smith Street was one of the bigger stores seen open with shoppers taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase their groceries.

Although running on skeleton staff, one employee, not wanting to be named told Sapa, the “big bosses did not want to lose out on money for this day so they decided to keep the store open”.

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Author: MRN Network

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