The South African Federation of Trade Unions – SAFTU has noted the appointment of the new Executive by the new President of our country, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.
We reiterate what our founding congress adopted, a position that it does not matter which faction of the ANC wins; it does not matter who is the President or in Cabinet. As long as the new cabinet implement the current pro-big business, and anti-poor economic policies, the crisis of worsening poverty, unemployment and inequalities will continue.
As long as the country remain trapped in a neo-colonial economic structure which is based on the extraction of our minerals, to be exported overseas, only to return to the country as finished products and thereby creating jobs elsewhere in the world, we will not break the backbone of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.
As long as we still playing within the neoliberal framework to please the class of multi-billionaires, IMF, World Bank and rating agencies, we can never place our country in a different developmental pedestal.
As long as we still implementing austerity programmes, which means cutting expenditure across the board, we will continue to worsen all of the challenges our country faces.
So to SAFTU, the individual brilliance does not matter if the framework being implemented is inappropriate and cannot address our developmental challenges.
Secondly, the hullabaloo about the reduction of cabinet size did not meet our expectations. The size of the Cabinet is back to where it was at the beginning of Jacob Zuma presidency and is significant ten members more than what Nelson Mandela had between 1994 and 1999. The interests of the country has once again taken a second position to ANC internal factionally dynamics.
SAFTU is hugely concerned about the message the President has communicated to the public that the office of the Public Protector is not as crucial as the Constitutional Court suggested it is. No matter what anyone thinks about the incumbent Public Protector, but it the office she occupies at the behest of the Constitution and parliament that appointed her that matters.
We expected that the President would at least acknowledge that the Public Protector has made negative findings against Minister Pravin Gordhan and explain why he decided not to act in line with the directives of the office of the Public Protector. To just ignore her communicates a message to the country that her findings are immaterial and must be ignored in exactly the same way they were ignored by the ANC when a then powerful faction in charge ignored the previous Public Protectors directives. If the President shows such disdain to the office of the Public Protector, why should ordinary citizens take that office serious in the future?
This, we believe as SAFTU, is hugely problematic. Next time there will be another Public Protector , the President and the choir of the people who support the move better remember the precedence they have set in the same way as the ANC who used to insult the previous Public Protector should never forget the insults they directed at Thuli Madonsela.
We are equally concerned that to the best of our acknowledge, people like Fikile Mbalula who were condemned by the Public Protector threatened to challenge the findings and went dead silent as soon as the attention shifted to something else. Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyana, Malusi Gigaba should be asking questions as to what is that they have done differently to others? If Mbalula filed this and perhaps SAFTU missed his application to set aside the findings, SAFTU will readily apologise to him and the President.
Lastly, we note that as part of pacifying the factions in the ANC the people who broke the unity of workers that led to COSATU being the shameful shadow of its former self have been handsomely rewarded with Ministers and Deputy Minister’s positions. Indeed they have served the capital’s interest in weakening labour voice very well.
SAFTU calls on the working class not to look at these cosmetic changes announced to change their situation, but to rely on their unity and strength of their organisations in each workplace and community.
We expect the attacks on the working class; in particular, the organised labour to intensify. More workers are going to be thrown to the streets from the power stations in Mpumalanga as the international conglomerates slowly take over the generation and distribution of energy, workers from Eskom, SAA, SABC, Telkom, etc. must brace themselves for a difficult five years as they will be made to pay for sins not created by them.
The people of Xolobeni must brace themselves for even bigger push down their throats as foreign mining company try destroy their beautiful land in exchange for their super exploitation. Farm workers are still discriminated on the bases of the colour of their sin must expect little from the new cabinet. The outsourced workers in all government departments and state owned enterprises must expect no change.
Workers employed by labour brokers must have no expectations that they will be liberated from this semi slavery. The people of Hamanskraal drinking dirty water, or the people who have no water must expect delays or no change. Etolls will continue and so will privatisation of Eskom shall continue.