Cosatu’s march against e-tolling and labour brokers got underway before 11am in Cape Town on Wednesday, with protesters braving blistering heat to take part.
Earlier, the crowd which stretched about two city blocks, had taken shelter under the trees to avoid the direct sunlight. Others were singing and dancing on the street in circles carrying knobkerries.
A woman also drew the crowd’s attention when, standing on the back of a Cosatu truck, broke into the controversial song “bring me my machine gun” — a trademark tune of President Jacob Zuma.
The crowd started converging on Keizersgracht around 8.30am.
Some school children in uniform also joined the gathering’s ranks.
Members of a number of Cosatu affiliate unions had come out in support of the march and included the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and the SA Municipal Workers’ Union.
A strong police contingent kept watch.
As the protesters moved towards city hall, a 47-year-old Athlone school teacher — who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation — said he was concerned that the number of teachers in schools was diminishing.
“I am here primarily because of teachers being given letters of dismissal with very little warning. These are experienced teachers leaving us with a void.”
A Cosatu marshal, who also asked not to be named, said he was optimistic that the march would get the attention of government.
“According to me we think there will be an answer from government. The agents [labour brokers] are using our people,” he said.