South Africa faces shut down amid nationwide strike

Thousands of people across South Africa are taking part in a national strike in protest at the rising cost of living.

Two of the country’s largest unions are leading the strike, calling for a “total shutdown” of the economy in protest against high unemployment levels, and rising fuel and electricity costs.

Marches are expected in all provinces, with the largest rallies likely to be in Cape Town and Pretoria.

The unions want a government cap on fuel prices, as well as a drop in interest rates and an income grant.

Around a third of South Africans are unemployed, and the country is grappling with the economic impact of global events such Covid and the war in Ukraine.

While organizers of Wednesday’s action say they aim to bring the country to an economic halt, they have also acknowledged that numbers on the streets may not match similar shutdowns in previous years.

The government says a no-work no-pay principle will apply – and essential workers cannot take part.

But unions say they see this as the start of a series of actions they’re willing to undertake until they get results.

Recommended for you