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South African healthcare workers strike before budget speech

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Anadolu - Cleared

Coronavirus

At the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, healthcare workers and trade unionists picket in solidarity with frontline workers before the South African Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, delivers a yearly budget speech.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) and the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) urged their members to stay away from work to protest what they say is a high level of unemployment, persistent corruption in the government and an abysmal distribution of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for frontline workers.

Petunia Sauri is a Professional nurse who is also the NUPSO regional secretary,

"We are being called frontliners right now, meaning we are in the forefront of the pandemic, catching that virus that the Covid-19 is throwing at us. Therefore it is very crucial that we are also considered as human beings. We are not saying give us anything from the Covid fund, we are saying, pay us what is due to us." Sauri said outside the hospital where she and her colleagues had been protesting.

For Motebang Ralake, SAFTU provincial leader, most of the government officials can not be trusted.

"They have a big stomach like this. Most of them, they are dying of over-eating. We have the people in this country who are dying of overeating while the majority of our people are dying of hunger."

South Africa is the country hardest-hit by coronavirus in Africa.

The government will unveil its fiscal 2021 spending plans Wednesday as the continent's most industrialised economy grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic on top of a recession.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni traditionally delivers his national budget speech alongside a potted aloe vera plant, highly resistant to drought, as a symbol of South Africa's economic resilience.

Resilience will be needed after a year of rolling restrictions on movement and business to curb the coronavirus outbreak.