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Strikes fuel tensions in South Africa

Catholic World News - August 27, 2010

Strikes by public-service workers in South Africa have “taken a violent turn that is worrisome,” a missionary priest in Cape Town tells the Fides news service. The strikes by teachers and health-care workers have closed schools and hospitals, prompting the South African bishops to ask the striking workers to reconsider how their actions are harming the common good. Yet workers who do return to work fear that they might be the target of violent reprisals.

The “climate of social conflict” in South Africa is raising tensions in the country, reports Father Mario Tessarotto. He points to “the economic disparities between the ruling elite, even the union elite, and the population.” Unemployment is much higher than official statistics suggests, he says. A rise in crime and a steady influx of firearms contribute to uncertainty about the future.

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