Former General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and Vice-Chairperson of the Millennium Labour Council Zwelinzima Vavi said it seems the president has nothing good to tell South Africa at SONA. Vavi said why he said so was because the country has witnessed recurrent falls in many sectors under the regime of President Zuma.
He outlined the many issues that the president needs to sort out and said Zuma needs to devise workable means of raising the hope of the public during the much-anticipated presidential address. This, should be done by cushioning the problems he enumerated.
First, he started with the state of national workers. He claimed that Zuma has not been fair in keeping the promises he made to the labour congress. Workers have not been treated fairly. Again, frantic efforts have not been put in place to ensure maximum safety of workers. He summarized by saying,
“Employers are waging war on workers’ hard-won rights through the use of labour brokers, outsourcing work, getting around collective bargaining and even refusing to recognise trade unions.”
“Deregulation by stealth has allowed employers to take advantage of undocumented labour and sidelined local labour in sectors such as hospitality, security and transport.”
“Labour relations are at the worst since the end of apartheid.
Vavi postulated that Zuma’s failure to comply with the 1969 Morogoro ANC conference resolutions and the economic demands of the Freedom Charter resulted to the countless protests witnessed in the country. He did not stop at that, he claimed that the presence of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the emergence of new unions could be attributed to Zuma’s failure to implement the aforementioned resolutions.
Furthermore, he stated that South African youths have not had the very best gains education can afford, as many of them still wallow in poverty after schooling. He said that the cause of this trend can be attributed South Africa’s two-tier education system.
The former Labour scribe vehemently kicked against the “capitalist” method adopted by the president. He maintained that it has done more harm than good. This has led many sate-owned enterprises such as Eskom, SAA and PetroSA to cripple their own competence.
“Similar chaos and incompetence can be found in public institutions – the SAPS, National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Revenue Service,” he said.
Coming to the looming retrenchments and industrial-collapse in the country, Vavi said mining, steel industries are severely affected. Also, South African Airways and the post office are not left out.
We will recall that last month, the HAWKS were invited to conduct through investigation on corruption allegations in the national Airways.
To cap it all, Vavi criticized the soaring level of inequality and racism in the country 22 years after its independence.
The much-awaited State of the Nation Address will kick-start on Thursday, 11th February. Like previous submits, hundreds of South Africans and a host of foreign visitors are expected to grace the annual presidential address. Last year’s SONA was hampered by the Economic Freedom Fighters, who disrupted president Zuma, chanting and asking him when he will ‘pay back the money’.