The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Saturday said it supported the call for government intervention to resolve the nationwide bus strike.
“Though the inconvenience affects hundreds of thousands of commuters that are bearing the brunt of the standoff, it is the poor working class commuting daily to and from work due to apartheid spatial planning that are the hardest hit as they cannot afford any alternative to the public transport system,” said Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.
With the strike set to continue on Monday, Mahlangu said it was inevitable that the public transport strike would negatively impact the economy.
“It is in the interest of employers, employees, our economy, [the] safety of those within our communities who are forced to leave their homes in the early hours of the morning when it is still dark including those who arrive late at night, that the deadlock is broken and an urgent settlement reached.”
The bus strike, which started on Wednesday, has left thousands stranded and minibus taxis strained as they try to cater for the increased travel load.
Unions and employers have reached a deadlock in their wage negotiations after a two-day meeting, mediated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), that failed to resolve the dispute.
Workers initially demanded a 12% increase and employers offered 7%.
It is understood that workers had since rejected an offer of 8% for the first year, and 8.5% in the second year, instead proposing a 9.5% increase in the first year and 9% for the second.
National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola called on workers to intensify the strike until they were paid a living wage.
“We wish to once again express our apologies to the commuters for the inconvenience caused by the strike,” she said.
“We hope the sacrifices we are all making will not be in vain.” ―News24