Last night of the 24 February 2020, SAFTU was invited and attended a meeting with government Ministers led by the Minister of Public Administration, Minister Senzo Mchunu. Also, in attendance was the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi; Minister in the Presidency; Jackson Mthembu and the Deputy Minister of the Department of Finance, David Masondo.
The SAFTU delegation was led by its President, Mac Chavalala and the General Secretary with all the Presidents and General Secretaries of the SAFTU affiliated unions organising in the public service.
The meeting was convened to brief SAFTU on the challenges the government is facing, including economic stagnation, falling government revenues, increasing demands on the budget, etc. These increased demands on the budget relates to SOE debt that government reviews as leading to unsustainable debt and deficit levels.
These engagements will continue post the presentation of the 26 February 2020 Budget Speech. SAFTU commits to engage government in good-faith and has made a plea on government to also engage with an open mind. In particular we want a government that will engage on the framework that informs its assumptions on such issues as deficit, debts, monetary and fiscal policies, etc.
SAFTU remains firm in its view that it will continue to demand an alternative to neoliberalism and austerity programmes that have failed dismally. Government economic policies have reproduced unemployment, poverty and inequalities. Today the economy is not growing with big business on an investment strike, State Owned Enterprises that are in the Intensive Care Unit, bleeding billions of rands and government imposing austerity and cutting services and threatening thousands of jobs that were once secured.
SAFTU rejects any attempt to resolve the crisis of capitalism with austerity programmes at the expense of workers in the public service in particular and the working class in general.
SAFTU calls on all workers in the public service to mobilise against austerity programmes. SAFTU continues to mobilise the broader working class to join hands and reject the austerity budget to be delivered by the Minister of Finance tomorrow. SAFTU calls on the Soweto residents and residents of all working-class townships to join the working class formations, including the Cry of the Xcluded staging demonstrations in Cape Town and other cities tomorrow and throughout 2020 and years to come.