Cosatu urged the DA on Monday night to cancel its planned march against the trade union federation.
“Cosatu calls upon the DA to reconsider its decision to march to Cosatu House tomorrow,” said spokesman Patrick Craven.
“There is no way this march will make any contribution to solving the problem of youth unemployment, which they claim to be so concerned about, and they will certainly not convince workers to agree with their phony solution of a youth wage subsidy.”
Craven said it would be a futile exercise in “stupid politicking to keep their party in the spotlight.”
It was not clear by 7.40pm if the Democratic Alliance would indeed march to the Congress of SA Trade Union's headquarters in Johannesburg, but the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and its affiliates vowed to “swamp the streets outside Cosatu House”.
“This mass gathering is informed by the provocative, deceitful and cheap political blackmail from the chief representatives of white monopoly capital and apartheid apologists the DA,” Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said in a statement.
Numsa said it would be joined by the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union, the Communication Workers' Union, the Progressive Youth Alliance, the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League and the SA Students' Congress.
Ngobese said the DA was trying to coerce the ANC-led government, particularly its ally Cosatu, to agree to the neo-liberal proposal of a youth wage subsidy.
He said the subsidy would create a two-tier labour system which would result in a flood of retrenchments as major factories favoured youth wages.
On Monday afternoon, the Johannesburg metro police said the DA would be allowed to march in downtown Johannesburg, but would not be allowed to march to Cosatu House.
“A security assessment was done and it was decided that the route would be changed so that speeches are done at a neutral venue,” said spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.
“They (the DA) won't be allowed near Cosatu House,” he said.
However, at 6.10pm, DA leader Helen Zille posted a message on the social networking site Twitter, indicating that the march would go ahead as planned.
“DA march is ON tomorrow. Mischievous reports on SABC radio saying march cancelled are WRONG. See you tomorrow! #fb”
Minnaar said around 3000 marchers were expected to converge at Beyers Naude Square.
The march would start at 11am and proceed to President, Rissik, Jeppe, Sauer, Burger, Jorissen, Melle and Simmonds streets.
He said it would end on the lawns of the Johannesburg Civic Theatre.
The DA said it was marching about job losses.
“The march is to protest against the trade 1/8union 3/8 federation's continued opposition to the youth wage subsidy, a policy that could create an estimated 423,000 jobs for young, unemployed South Africans,” spokeswoman Kelly Miller said.
She said Cosatu had become a stumbling block to job creation.
Zille, DA youth leader Makashule Gana, the party's parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and its national spokesman Mmusi Maimane would lead the march.
Earlier, the ANC urged the DA not to march, saying it would “heighten unnecessary tension”.
“If the DA has any view regarding the issues of labour brokers and youth wage subsidy, our contention is that they must engage with Cosatu rather than being confrontational and provocative,” ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“The only way, in our view, that any of the parties can influence one another and even influence government around these matters is through meaningful engagement.”
Mthembu said the decision to march was “ill-informed and opportunistic”. - Sapa