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SAF Transit Strike Strands Tens of Thousands


In South Africa, a three-day regional transit strike got underway today. Tens of thousands of commuters in Gauteng Province, the country’s industrial heartland, were left stranded. The area includes Johannesburg, Soweto and Pretoria.

Voice of America reporter Delia Robertson is following developments. From Johannesburg, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.

“It’s what I suppose South Africans call a rolling strike. It’s not a continuous strike. It’s a strike that’s being held in different provinces on different days at different branches of Transnet. The reasons behind it are that Transnet, which was a parastatal company and still is to a certain extent, has announced it intends to reorganize its operations and get rid of some of its non-core assets, in other words, companies that are not part of its central type of operations, which is transportation…. It’s trying to raise money to improve its services basically,” she says.

A national Transnet strike is scheduled for March 6th. Robertson says, “If that happens, it is expected that rail transport throughout the country will come to a halt on that day, as will operations at the ports, airports and so on.”

The unions began the first in a series of regional strikes in January. A union spokesman announced Sunday that talks over the restructuring had broken down.