Members of the South African Communist Party (SACP) have gathered in large numbers, outside the offices of a Gupta TV station in Midrand on Friday.
The party staged a protest in reaction against the firing of nine ANN7 staff members who chased away the African National Congress Youth League president Collen Maine from their offices in April.
Maine was ordered out while trying to address the staff members after an open letter was written to the country’s four major banks requesting them to restore relations with the Gupta-owned companies.
The banks withdrew trade relationship with parent company Oakbay in the wake of accusations by politicians and others the Gupta family‚ were overly influencing the president, Zuma and other allegations of state capture.
Speaking to TMG Digital‚ SACP provincial chairperson Joe Mpisi said the party was concerned about the unfair treatment of the axed ANN7 employees.
“Our main issue is that proper Labour Relations Act processes were not followed when the employees were fired‚” said Mpisi.
“We are here to appeal to the Gupta management to reinstate those workers and [they] must also stop abusing them because these employees are working hard for this channel.”
Gathered before the Gupta TV are Picketers carrying placards saying “Reinstate dismissed workers now”‚ “#GuptaMedia ANN7/TNA stop harassing workers” and “Gupta TV undermining SA sovereignty” as more party members are expected to be bused in later on Friday.
Know Your Place In Alliance
The Communication Workers Union on Wednesday criticized the SACP for joining protests against the SABC and said it should remember its place in the alliance with the ANC and Cosatu.
The SACP broke ranks and protested in support of suspended journalists and accused the public broadcaster of “dictatorial apartheid-style censorship.”
In reaction to that, CWU provincial secretary Thami Mzileni said the act by the party isn’t in the defense of the working class.
“Our hearts are bleeding because we expect an organisation which is our vanguard as the working class to be at the forefront in defending our decisions as workers, but instead the SACP is going out there and ridiculing and supporting the decisions made by right-wing organisations,”
The union therefore called on the communist party to engage them as the union so that they can clarify the matter. Mzileni said this is because the union believes that the decision that they are currently acting on is not informed.”