South Africa

Visual Essay

Cosatu takes to the streets to demand jobs and an end to state capture

Cosatu takes to the streets to demand jobs and an end to state capture
Photo: Protesters take to the streets in support of COSATU at a rally in Cape Town on 1 May, 2018. All Photos: Adam Yates

In honour of May Day, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) held a march in Cape Town to demand accountability from those in power on a variety of issues. The march focused on a safer and more reliable public transportation system, accepting a minimum wage, creating jobs, and serving justice to those responsible for State Capture.

Photo: Led by representatives of the ANC, the Western Cape COSATU march began outside the Castle of Good Hope. Photo: Adam Yates


In the hours leading up to the official start of the Cosatu May Day March, protesters gathered to sing songs, dance, and celebrate the rights of workers on International Workers’ Day. Following a few brief kick-off speeches, the march began.

Photo: Protesters danced as the march approached its first stop on the route

The energetic songs of the march echoed down the Cape Town streets bringing nearby residents to their windows to observe the protesters traverse the city.

Photo: COSATU Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, addressed the crowd outside PRASA headquarters


Outside the headquarters of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Cosatu representatives read a memorandum that demanded safer public transportation, reliable transportation services, and the reinstatement of the bus systems. Cosatu representatives promised that if the demands weren’t enacted, Cosatu would take over PRASA’s headquarters from the inside and force accountability. A PRASA representative signed the memorandum, promised to pass it on to his superiors, and then the march proceeded to Parliament.

Photo: The protesters coordinated their marching as they made their way under a bridge and on to Parliament


Photo: A COSATU representative fired up the crowd in the shadow of Parliament

After a brief walk, the protesters made their final stop of the official march at Parliament.

Photo: COSATU leaders kept the protesters engaged, leading the crowd in song and dance down the Cape Town streets.

Outside Parliament, Cosatu speakers presented a second memorandum that called on the ANC to stay true to its promises and rid the government of corruption. The memorandum also sought proper punishment for those responsible for State Capture, and asked for better worker rights as well as an approved national minimum wage.

Photo: An ANC Representative signed the COSATU memorandum before addressing the protesters

An ANC representative signed the memorandum and gave a passionate speech to the crowd of “comrades” promising live up to Cosatu’s demands.

Photo: Back inside the Castle of Good Hope, a May Day Celebration got underway.

Following the rally at Parliament, the march then returned to the Castle of Good Hope, where a festival celebration was set up for the enjoyment of the protesters. Inflatable slides were available for the children of the marchers, food concessions were sold, artists played live music, and a series of speakers from Cosatu, the ANC and other partner organizations gave closing speeches to the crowd. DM


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