The spectacle of the blows between a Democratic Alliance-led crowd and COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) would have been the stuff of farce if it weren’t so tragically unedifying. The DA has every right to march and be “provocative”. COSATU’s response betrays its own hard-won struggles in the past for the right to march, assemble and protest.
This was no kristalnacht or fascist street gang about to storm the workers’ movement. This was a DA rent-a-crowd happy to don any T-shirt. The simplest response would have been to take their memorandum and invite them to the next COSATU meeting. After all, there are so many COSATU resolutions about organising the unemployed and the unorganised.