Cosatu tackles SA's economic ills
Johannesburg - The economy and the country's political
situation were topics of discussion at Cosatu's central committee on
Talks revolved around general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi's
secretariat report, which he delivered in a three-hour session on Tuesday.
In the report Vavi describes "contradictory policy
developments, zig-zagging in government and major resistance from old centres
of economic power in the state".
"The result has been that economic policy realignment,
where it has taken place has been partial, and has had to coexist within the
old macroeconomic policy framework."
The government subsequently failed to provide direction
during the economic crisis, when over a million workers lost their jobs, it
The gains on closing the policy gap between Cosatu and the
ANC made at the ruling party's national conference in Polokwane in December
2007, however, did not end the "contestation" within the ANC, the
government and the rest of the alliance.
The alliance consists of the ANC, Cosatu, the SA Communist
Party and the SA National Civics Organisation.
Vavi accused the "rightwing" within these bodies
of interpreting the Polokwane resolutions "to give them a conservative
The government's new growth path, unveiled at the end of
last year, was a "compromise policy statement" reflecting battles on
economic direction within the state.
Vavi reiterated Cosatu's demand for the country's economy to
break out of its "structural crisis", inherited from apartheid and
He repeated warnings the country was sitting on a
"ticking time bomb" due to rising unemployment, high levels of
poverty, lack of income redistribution, its mineral dependence, health and
housing problems and the concentration of the means of production in white
Vavi said Cosatu intended defending the Polokwane
resolutions and the ANC leaders elected there. He however warned that if they
failed to turn around poverty, inequality and unemployment, "society may
be persuaded" by the Democratic Alliance and "others" that
leftwing solutions to the economic crisis did not work.
"If by 2014... our people see no real tangible change
in their situation and start to lose hope that we can change their lives for
the better, they may start questioning the whole leftwing project.
"If by 2018 the crisis remains, and the structural
fault lines remain, we risk a social implosion on the scale we have seen in
north Africa recently."
Vavi said Cosatu would continue to negotiate with the
government and provide its input to the new growth path.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is expected to address the
central committee on Wednesday afternoon. The union federation would then focus
on Walmart's acquisition of Massmart Holdings [JSE:MSM] with an address from Phillip Jennings, the
general secretary of UNI Global Union.