Cosatu is creating a self-inflicting storm to make itself relevant again. Its intention to lead a strike action against the new pension laws will cause further damage to the economy and worsen the lot of workers in South Africa.
President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday called Cosatu’s bluff. He made it clear that between 2013 and 2015, 25 meetings were held with labour unions and extensive discussion had taken place. In dismissing Cosatu’s accusation of a lack of consultation, he insisted that government was going to implement amendments relating to retirement funds. A review could only take place two years hence.
Unfortunately, President Zuma has eroded trust in governance to the point that workers are nervous about the safety of their pension funds. Their unwillingness to commit two thirds of the lump sum due to them on resignation into a preservation fund indicates their deep seated anxiety. They are so focussed on present survival that they are unwilling to contemplate financial security in their old age.
Cosatu leaders have dismally failed to prove that they were not consulted. This is merely a ploy for them to pressurise the weakening ANC to submit to their demands however ill-conceived they are. Cosatu and SACP are attempting to extract a very high price for ongoing political support to the ANC. Every time the ANC capitulates the economy weakens, service delivery worsens and productivity declines. Cosatu and the SACP want to have the ANC over the barrel all the time. That is why the Minister of Basic Education, for instance, cannot implement essential basic reforms.
Cosatu and the SACP know very well that the ANC is concerned about losing a number of Metros during the coming elections. Now is therefore the time for them to extract maximum concessions even if they are self-defeating. The need to show who is holding the whip hand is the real issue here.
Cosatu and the SACP are playing games. Even ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe admitted he was puzzled at the war talk of Cosatu. He dismissed as “nonsense” the argument that Cosatu was not part of the process.
The ANC is in agreement with the stand of the Congress of the People regarding the play acting by Cosatu. It is merely playing to the gallery with no facts to substantiate its contention. For no reason whatsoever it wants to embark on a futile and destructive strike action. Cosatu is misleading workers. This will backfire with disastrous consequences for Coasatu.
Cosatu President Dlamini is an NEC member of the ANC. A large number of Cosatu’s senior leaders are in Parliament and many are sitting in Cabinet also. There is no credence in Cosatu’s claims that the tax amendment was sneakily done. If anything, Cosatu has been part and parcel of the decision that they are now pretending to fight.
Cosatu has been exposed. Cosatu is perpetrating a very big lie and workers will want answers from the leadership.
COPE suggests that every member of Cosatu and SACP serving in parliament, the cabinet, the provincial government and in the NEC should form a delegation to meet a general assembly of Cosatu and the SACP. They should give details of their involvement in the tax amendment from the very start. This is not a time for them to remain silent but to be outspoken. Blade Nzimande should be the most vociferous of them all. Let us hear what he and Jeremy Cronin have to say on this issue.
Zwelinzima Vavi and NUMSA were correct in asserting that Cosatu has become nothing but a labour desk of the ANC. They were called counter revolutionaries for stating the truth. Today they are proven to have been correct.
COPE maintained from its inception that political parties should remain independent of trade unions. What the ANC is trying to do has never worked before and will not work now. It has become paralysed because of its relationship with Cosatu.
Issued by Dennis Bloem, COPE spokesperson