Jobs is the number one issue in mini budget - Cosatu

2017-10-25 12:40 - Eugenie du Preez
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Cape Town - The most important issue Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will have to deal with in his maiden mini budget is unemployment, according to trade union federation Cosatu.

Speaking to Fin24 on Tuesday, Cosatu parliamentary deputy coordinator Matthew Parks said: "Unemployment has jumped from 15% in 2008 to about 38% now, so it’s the number one economic crisis.

"Basically 4 out of every 10 workers does not have a job. You can’t talk about slogans or policy to someone who is unemployed. So he has to say how his government can spur on the economy and get things moving, and so on. If we don’t want to solve that, we can’t solve anything as a nation."

The second most urgent issue the finance minister needs to tackle is corruption, said Parks.

"I think that the other issue they would want him to speak on is the state of corruption in the state, especially the state-owned enterprises, SAA, Eskom, SABC, Denel and so on which are basically imploding the state."

WATCH: SA 'has been let down by a president who is the champion of corruption'

Cabinet and board reshuffles have only led to instability instead of the policy certainty investors and South Africans long for and expect, said Parks, bewailing the fact that "ministers are being shoved, because they don’t show the green light for looting fast enough".

He pointed out that the 12 Cabinet reshuffles in Zuma’s eight years as president come across as chaos to investors, and indicate a crisis of leadership.

The good old days

Looking back at the Mbeki and Mandela administrations, Parks said in those days people looked forward to the budget statements. "They got a sense that government was gonna create jobs here, push social grants there, it’s going to invest in education, electricity and water. It was a nation moving. There were still massive challenges, but you saw progress."

Cosatu does not have any "high hopes" about Wednesday's mini budget, Parks said.

"We’ve been let down by a president who is the champion of corruption. He has enriched his family, his friends, his girlfriends across the board and we’ve got a Cabinet which is so deeply compromised."

But, he concluded, "we live in hope".

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