JOHANNESBURG, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Labor unions on Tuesday said they are shocked that some companies are preventing and threatening workers from casting their ballots on Wednesday, despite the fact that the day has been declared a public holiday.
Jack Mazibuko, general secretary of South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), told Xinhua that their members received threatening letters from several companies this week informing them to report for work instead of voting.
"The management of these companies had ample time to make arrangements and tweak their rosters so as to accommodate voting workers," he said, adding SATAWU had written to employers warning them not to infringe on the right of workers to vote.
"We have issued a clear communication that defends our members from exercising their constitutional right to vote," he said, noting that this behavior was shocking as the Election Day was announced in February by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) spokesperson Sizwe Palma said the victimization of workers could not be tolerated.
"The federation is encouraging all workers who are being victimized to report to COSATU. Many freedom fighters, workers, in particular, lost their lives to earn this right to vote and we should not allow some few gluttonous and arrogant employers to spit in their," Pamla said.
The government issued a statement urging citizens to go out in their numbers and vote on Wednesday's election. Parliament Speaker Bapela Mbete said voting "is a right some people died for and one that we should not take for granted in our growing democracy."