Cape Town - Cosatu is working against the interests of the
unemployed and stalling the effort to bring jobs, DA leader Helen Zille said on
In a speech prepared for delivery at a Democratic Alliance
Workers Day event in Midvaal, Gauteng, she said the trade union federation was
stuck in a 1950s British model of "hostile central bargaining".
It was the only organisation in South Africa that was
refusing to take part in programmes to end unemployment.
"Cosatu, which played such a pivotal role in creating
South Africa's democracy, runs the risk of being left behind if it remains
stuck in the 1950s British model of hostile central bargaining between 'bosses
and workers'," Zille said.
"Tragically, Cosatu (alone among the trade union
federations) is working against the interests of the unemployed, keeping them
permanently locked out, and stalling the effort to bring jobs, redress and
reconciliation to our society."
Last week the DA launched an Economic Development
Partnership in the Western Cape between business, labour, educational
institutions, social movements, NGOs and "countless others" to
address problems that impede economic growth and job creation and to remove red
The Congress of SA Trade Unions was the only organisation
that would not take part in the process.
"The lesson of our history has been that when we stand
together, we can achieve anything. Now we must stand together to defeat
"It is sad that Cosatu is the only organisation that
will not engage this process, and their members will lose out as a
South Africa's official unemployment rate was around 25.7%,
but the Centre for Development and Enterprise had noted that only 41% of the
population of working age - people aged 16 to 64 - have any kind of job.
What this meant was that there are many more people who were
locked out of the job market, than those who had access.
"We agree that trade unions have an important role in a
democracy to represent the interests of organised workers. But they are wrong
to see managers as their 'class enemy'," she said.
"Countries with growing economies and growing
employment have outgrown this 'zero-sum' model where one side's gain is the
other side's loss.
"In fact, to create more jobs we need more people who
will invest capital and skills, who will take investment risks to open
factories and to start businesses, thus creating more jobs," she said.