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COSATU totally rejects the newly released Government's Inclusive Growth Action Plan
The Congress of South African Trade Union has noted with grave concern the newly released Government's Inclusive Growth Action Plan as presented by the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba today. Firstly, we want to challenge the assertion that this plan is an outcome of a broader consultation of stakeholders because as Labour and COSATU in particular we were never consulted on this matter. There is no Nedlac meeting or process that was convened to discuss this plan.
This plan is nothing new because it is the repetition of the same recommendations that are contained in the presidential review commission report, which advocated partial privatisation of state-owned companies. We rejected the recommendations of that commission; like we reject this Government's Inclusive Growth Action Plan.
It is obvious that this plan was never hatched in this country but is an outcome of the minister's sojourn abroad, when he was allegedly consulting investors. This so called plan will receive firm opposition from the workers. We have a clear and unambiguous position on the issue of privatisation; as mandated by our 7th National Congress and all our subsequent congresses that passed a resolution opposing the privatisation of state assets.
This is an attempt by government to outsource its developmental mandate to the private sector. Minister Malusi Gigaba is following the same trend as the previous finance ministers and other neoliberal ideologues in the state, who take important and essential decisions without properly consulting the stakeholders.Minister Pravin Ghordan and Minister Nene did the same thing , when they failed to consult labour about the Taxation Amendment Act of 2013 and the Youth Wage Subsidy.
This latest plan is proof that the statements about Radical Economic Transformation by Minister Gigaba were nothing but hot air and sloganeering.; this latest position is about government handing over the keys to economic policy formulation to capital.
Unfortunately, we have experienced this before that whenever the economy takes a downturn government goes back to the old logic of neo- liberal economic responses. Their reaction to the economic stagnation is the reintroduction of the trickle down neoliberal economics that says the private sector knows best and that the state must play a lesser role in the economy and at worst not be involved at all.
It is alarming for us to see that government is steaming ahead with the existing policies that were inherited from the fourth administration. The commitment to a radical shift in the policy direction is no longer a main concern and the anti-state mantra is becoming more louder, despite the rhetoric about RET.
The ANC made a commitment in its recently held National Policy Conference to strengthen the capacity of the state and has previously identified the underlying reasons for an unresponsive state as outsourcing and the emasculation of the state. The ANC and the Alliance positions are unambiguous in that we need to increase the capacity of the state, so that the state can drive the movement's developmental agenda.
COSATU is unyielding in its assertion that the task of fundamental transformation of our economy, the creation of decent work and the provision of basic services to the majority of our people cannot be left to the market forces. Guided by the ANC policies of the 52nd Polokwane and 53rd Mangaung conferences, we still insist on the creation of a strong developmental state to intervene decisively in the economy ,to redistribute resources in order to address unemployment, inequalities, poverty, and rural-urban development divide.
We reaffirm the May 2008 Alliance Summit's call for a moratorium on privatisation and outsourcing and the review of current outsourced public sector utilities.In its 2012 Policy Conference the ANC, committed itself to the objective of ensuring that ; "state-owned commercial entities operate as powerful instruments of economic transformation and remain firmly within the control of the state in order to have the capacity that is capable of responding effectively and efficiently to the developmental agenda of the ANC".
Privatisation of SOE's will adversely affect the state's capacity to: provide basic services to the poor; provide for infrastructural development; intervene to restructure the economy to ensure growth and employment creation; and play a developmental role in general. It will lead to significant job losses and will not provide for job creation. It will foster the casualisation of labour, with more and more workers being hired on limited fixed-term contracts of employment. It removes workers from the bargaining units established over many years in the public sector, generally leading to a reduction in incomes, benefits and job security.
Instead of attempting to privatise SOEs ,we actually need more of them in strategic sectors of the economy like in the mining sector (the state mining company), construction (the state construction company), pharmaceutical sector (the state pharmaceutical company), the financial sector (the state bank and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank), etc.
The minister will be better served by revisiting and familiarising himself with the principles included in the framework for South Africa's Global Economic Crisis adopted on the 19th of February 2009. This is not the first time we have had to come up with a collective response to an economic crisis. There can be no shortcuts to dealing with the economic challenges facing this country.
We remain ready and willing to mobilise against this attempt to render powerless government and will continue to defend the resolution of the construction of a developmental state. This trajectory by the minister is the strengthening of an alliance between the state and the private sector at the exclusion of the poor majority and at the expense of advancing Radical Economic Transformation. It is on this same basis that the 1910 Union of South Africa was constructed as part of isolating the black majority.
This so called framework for the greater private sector participation potentially means, amongst others the use of IPPS's in the provision of energy. If this is true, it will be tantamount to the declaration of war on the working class. We reject the notion that this is not a Policy statement because we know that this plan is being used to prepare the nation for an Medium Term Budget Policy Statement , where the features of this plan will become a central theme.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
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