Cape Town – Cosatu on Friday voiced concern that President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address (SONA) was “thin on details” regarding the country’s unemployment crisis.
“The biggest crisis and threat to the nation is the high unemployment rate of 34%, but worryingly the SONA was thin on details on how will we ensure as a matter urgency that all South Africans have decent permanent jobs,” Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson for the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), said in a statement.
“We are satisfied that the president has highlighted many important steps towards lifting the nation out of its economic crisis and placing it on the correct path,” he said.
However, he said the creation of “permanent decent work for all must be at the centre of everything that government does. “Anything less will not address the root causes of our challenges.”
Zuma said in his address that to “achieve our objectives of creating jobs, reducing inequality and pushing back the frontiers of poverty we need faster growth”.
Pamla said it cannot continue to be business as usual by government. “We expect that all departments, provinces and municipalities will shoulder the responsibility of creating jobs,” he said.
“We cannot afford to leave workers unemployed or without hope of finding decent permanent work,” he said. “The lack of detail in this regard remains deeply worrying.
“Whilst the federation supports and welcomes all efforts to improve investment and create an environment that allows businesses to grow, this cannot be at the expense of workers.”
Pamla called for Zuma to address the “skewed ownership patterns that favour the white minority” and which “are not sustainable and needs to be changed”.
“We … need to talk about the structural changes needed in the economy to allow the black majority to participate in it,” he said.
He said Cosatu was also very concerned by the lack of detail and attention given to the “scourge of corruption blighting our public service, parastatals and society at large”.
“This monster of corruption needs to be dealt with at all levels,” he said.