Several protesting groups say they are using the occasion of the State of the Nation address (Sona) to try to get President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attention for their causes.
On footbridges running across Nelson Mandela Boulevard leading into the Cape Town CBD, Right2Know protestors held morning rush-hour protests calling on Ramaphosa to among other things to increase social grants.
Busi Mtabane, Right2Know’s national spokesperson says the picket is an annual event on the route which the president’s cavalcade will take into the city later in the day.
“Every year around the State of the Nation we picket. Some of the issues we are highlighting are the fact we want a clean cabinet following the state capture allegations.”
The transparency and accountability lobby group say it also wants to know from the President when the information regulator’s office will be strengthened.
“We are unhappy that Protection of Personal Information [POPI] Act is not enforced. So we have called on the President to fast track the implementation of the POPI law and ensure that the office of the Information Regulator is resourced so that it can investigate companies and departments that are using our private information,” Mtabane said.
Meanwhile teachers belonging to the South African Federation of Trade Unions-affiliated Educators Union of South Africa (Eusa) say they will be marching to parliament to protest what they say is a “deteriorating education system”.
Eusa general secretary Siphiwe Mpungose says they will not be a large group, but promise they will be vocal.
“We requested a permit for 500 people. And we were told we can’t go over that amount. Teachers from all over are coming to this historic moment where teachers are marching for the first time to Sona.”
Eusa bemoans what it calls an unproductive curriculum and a failing education system.
“As teachers we are forced to dish out knowing very well that this is not helping our people. It’s not helping our nation. We are creating dependency,” Mpungose said.
Mpungose says they will have left the parliamentary precinct long before Ramaphosa arrives just before 7pm on Thursday.
Police have already placed a ring of steel around the parliamentary precinct with only people accredited to attend Sona allowed anywhere close to the House of Parliament.
In the past, public order police have had to use stun grenades to keep rival political party members at bay. Authorities say they don’t expect security issues at this year’s address.