Cape Town – The privatisation of state assets by the ANC-led government will face stiff opposition from workers, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has warned.
President Jacob Zuma recently released the Presidential Review Commission on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) report which was set to guide their reformation.
READ: Zuma releases guide for new era of state-owned entities
During the State of the Nation address last week Zuma said that, following the findings of the review, certain SOEs would be phased out, while reports suggest that partial privatisation is in the pipeline for others.
READ: SOEs no longer relevant will be phased out, says Zuma
Cosatu said the report was deeply troubling and would “find stiff opposition from the workers”.
“It is the latest in a series of steps by government signalling that they are prepared to outsource their developmental mandate to the private sector,” the federation said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We have a clear and unambiguous position on the issue of privatisation, as mandated by our 7th National Congress that passed a resolution opposing the privatisation of state assets,” it said.
According to Cosatu, SOEs should be funded by the state, through a progressive tax system, retirement funds and insurance.
“They should improve their efficiency and government should conduct a skills audit to check the qualifications and experience of senior managers and board members,” it said.
In his SONA Zuma said that for SOEs to contribute to the successful implementation of the National Development Plan, they had to be “financially sound, be properly governed and managed”.
“We will ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Review Commission on State Owned Enterprises, which outlines how the institutions should be managed,” he said.
Earlier in February the heads of South Africa’s biggest companies urged Zuma to sell certain state-owned assets and accelerate partnerships between companies and the state.
Energy utility Eskom has been highlighted as a drain on the national fiscus and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has suggested that private shareholders should be able to buy as much as 49% of Eskom Holdings, Bloomberg reported.