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South African youth to march on anniversary of Soweto Uprising to demand action on unemployment

MEMBERS of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers are set to march in the capital Pretoria on Saturday as they demand action to tackle persistent unemployment in the sector.

The union’s youth section is calling for a halt to the closure of mines and power stations, higher wages and government intervention to curb rocketing fuel prices. 

The NUM youth structure is urging mass participation in Saturday’s march, calling on the NUM, Cosatu Young Workers, the Young Communist League and the nation’s youth to swell their ranks. 

The action will take place close to the anniversary of the 1976 student uprising in Soweto, during which as many as 700 people are believed to have been shot dead by police. 

The anniversary is a national holiday in South Africa and is usually marked by commemorations in honour of those killed in what was seen as a turning point in global opinion, exposing the brutality of the country’s apartheid regime. 

But NUM Youth national secretary Sandra Maseko said that this year’s event would be different. 

“We can’t commemorate June 16 this year the same way we did over the past years: we need to fight for a better life for our generation,” he said. 

“The youth of this country finds itself in a state of a disaster which demands confrontation to change the reality faced by young people in this country,” the union said. 

Protesters will make their way to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and hand over a memorandum to the minister of minerals, resources and energy and the minister of labour and employment as well as the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

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