Protest Rocks South Africa Over Joblessness, Inflation

Protesters marched to one of South Africa’s main government buildings in Pretoria, Wednesday, backing a national strike called by the country’s largest unions over high inflation and power cuts.

Hundreds of people blocked roads in the capital as they walked to the Union Buildings, where the presidency is located, demanding the government tackle rising living costs to prevent “economic collapse”.

“We cannot breathe,” the General Secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions, Zwelinzima Vavi, told the crowd.

“We cannot compromise when we know that yesterday and today, at least 14 million people are forced to skip a meal a day because they simply cannot afford to buy a plate of food.”

Protests in other parts of the country were much smaller however, with union calls for a “national shutdown” largely unheeded.

South Africa has been battered by high unemployment and soaring inflation, and waves of blackouts caused by breakdowns and capacity shortfalls at state energy provider Eskom.

“It is a societal struggle,” said the deputy director of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Mike Shingange.

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