South Africans are holding on to hope that President Cyril Ramaphosa declares 27 December a public holiday.
Since returning from his state visit to the UK, in which he met with King Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, Ramaphosa has remained mum on a decision
However, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) as well as trade union Cosatu are intensifying their stance for this to change.
According to the Public Holidays Act, South Africans are entitled to 12 paid public holidays per year. However, with Christmas Day – 25 December – falling on a Sunday this year, and Boxing Day on a Monday, there has been a shortfall of 1 day.
However, declaring 27 December a holiday falls under the decision-making of the president, as stipulated in the Government Gazette under section 2A.
EXTRA PUBLIC HOLIDAY: ENTITLED TO…BUT NOT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT
Speaking to Cape Talk, employment law expert Taryn York of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr firm revealed that South Africans are “entitled” to an additional public holiday.
She said: “If the 27 December is not declared a public holiday, it would prejudice South African citizens.
“In all fairness, it should be declared a public holiday so that we can benefit from the full 12 days entitlement”.
However, she added: “There is no legal requirement and it is solely up to the discretion of the president.
Earlier this month, Fedusa said in a statement: “Fedusa remains resolute that working South Africans should not be dealt a further injustice to their income security, already eroded during Covid-19, and must therefore be able to enjoy their full 12 paid public holidays”.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla added: “Workers whose workplaces will mainly be open during the festive season will not enjoy the Christmas holiday to its fullest if the government fails to issue such a Presidential Proclamation.
“This is important for workers as the Christmas period is the only time when workers can travel home to rural areas and spend time with their children and families after a long year’s hard work.
A similar situation occurred in 2016 when Christmas Day also fell on a Sunday. Following an appeal by Fedusa, then-president Jacob Zuma declared Tuesday, 27 December 2016 a public holiday.
TWEEPS PLEAD WITH THE PRESIDENT
With radio silence from the president, tweeps are continuing to apply pressure for an additional public holiday.
Here is what a few had to say:·