Johannesburg - South Africa faces massive problems in its economy, despite achieving democracy 19 years ago, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday.
"While we have made huge gains since 1994... on the economic front workers' lives have not been fundamentally transformed. We still face massive problems in our economy," the Congress of SA Trade Unions leader said in a speech prepared for delivery.
"In the longer term, the only way we can create sustainable jobs, eradicate poverty and build a more prosperous and equal society is through a radical restructuring of our economy."
Vavi was speaking at a Workers' Day celebration at the University of Cape Town.
He said it was crucial to give South African youth the opportunity to work and to have a secure future.
"If we fail, the outcome will be disastrous, not just for the young people themselves, but for all South Africans, who will lose the massive contribution that those young workers have the potential to make if given the opportunity to work and earn a living."
Vavi lamented the "appalling tolerance" of corruption in the country.
"In our view such [corrupt] people should not even wait to be disciplined, but offer their resignation," he said.
"All [of] this is wreaking untold damage on the moral fibre of the country. We are moving towards a society in which the morality of our revolutionary movement... is being swept away [by] a culture of individual self-enrichment and 'me-first'."
He said South Africa's "political life" was not exempt from corruption.
"Some corrupt politicians and officials build political support by bribing people to back their factions, which are not based on ideological differences, but on who has the biggest treasure chest to dole out favours."
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.