Cabinet: Strikes tarnish SA's image

2012-10-11 10:43

Cape Town - Illegal and violent strikes are not helping South Africa's image internationally, acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams said on Thursday.

In a media briefing in Cape Town following the executive's Wednesday meeting, she said cabinet was concerned at the lawlessness, violence, and intimidation that continued to pollute the otherwise democratic right of workers to strike.

"It is a fact that as a democracy, the right to strike is a defined right in South Africa that obligates the strikers to observe that they cannot encroach on other people's rights as they enjoy theirs."

No one should be intimidated to take or not to take industrial action in a democracy.

No one should resort to any forms of violence against people or property as a form of striking or protest.

"Our struggle for freedom and democracy ensured that our laws provide a space for protected peaceful strikes, which obviates the need for illegal strikes accompanied by violence and intimidation," she said.

Cabinet thus reiterated its call for workers to use existing channels with unions to address grievances and wage negotiations in a manner that was in touch with the country's laws and collective bargaining practices.

"It is, among others, these illegal strikes and the accompanying violence that is not helping the country's image internationally, and is contributing to the already existing challenges facing our economy and society," Williams said.

She also said cabinet was concerned at the "uncomfortable" international macro-economic outlook.

"...South Africa is not left unaffected, due to global factors but also domestic ones, as a result of which rating agencies altered our standing from stable to negative," she said.

Cabinet intended taking the necessary measures to lift the growth potential and competitiveness of the South African economy.

This was intended to address the domestic contributory factors and to ensure that the impact of the downgrade was contained and did not encroach on already constrained resources for key service delivery programmes, she said.

"It should be noted that as a country, we take seriously the role of (rating) agencies and that, as always, we view them as necessary partners to do assessments... and reflect on the areas we should pay attention to as an international actor on matters of economy," Williams said.

During the meeting, the executive had also approved the 2012/13 budget adjustments, the fiscal framework, and the division of revenue for the 2013 medium-term expenditure framework to be published in the 2012 medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) later this month.

"Cabinet further noted with concern the impact of the global economic downturn, and recent disruptions in the domestic economy due to industrial action, and their combined impact on the performance of the South African economy."

The National Treasury would hold a fuller media briefing after the MTBPS presentation in Parliament, she said.

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  • brionyl.french - 2012-10-11 10:55


  • - 2012-10-11 10:57

    The cabinet tarnishes SA's image IMO.

      daleinn - 2012-10-11 11:16

      It was rocket science !!!

      Willie - 2012-10-11 11:24

      Cabinet majority is ANC. ANC+COSATU+SACP= unholy alliance ANC+COSATU+SACP= STRIKES therefore Unholy alliance= strikes So who is tarnishing the image of SA?

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 11:26

      @Alicia, at last THEY KNOW? Lol.

      rodney.overes - 2012-10-11 11:39

      Look at cabinet now shifting the blame to the strikers, THEY SET THE EXAMPLE and now they start crying.

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-10-11 11:00

    No Idiots. The ANC's incompetence is what is tarnishing this country. If we had labour laws to protect employers it will be a different story. It is all the crappy laws that was passed over the last 18 years that we have to deal with now.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-10-11 11:02

    Why don't they change the labour laws to protect the employer as well? It's the laws passed by this government that's ruining the country! They should learnt by now.

      Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-10-11 11:21

      SA football has been chracterized by similar incidents of violence when certain teams lost their matches. The PSL started penalising clubs whose supporters misbehaved at matches and what happened - the level of violence came down drastically. What prevents government from doing the same with unions?

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 11:32

      Malose, they will lose the next elections, thats what will happen. The anc knows that. Our fellow countrymen do not want do do what is right, and neither the politicians. Its time for serious change

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-10-11 11:04

    Don’t tell us what we all know...just do something about it!!! That’s your responsibility!

  • KReddy - 2012-10-11 11:06

    I think worry about how we perceive ourselves before what the world thinks. No point in putting on a show as if we fix what's wrong internally, the image we portray to investors and the world would be a positive one by default. And the Cabinet must stop lip servicing and discussing the way forward and agendas for the next 50 meetings, DO SOMETHING

  • marc.rule - 2012-10-11 11:08

    Stop talking and do something about it.

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-10-11 11:08

    If they strike turn violent then the Unions must be held responsible and the strike declared illegal. The employers must then get the right to fire the striking workers. DUH!!!

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-11 11:12

    Agreed 1005 that these strikes are out of hand are negatively affecting everyone, but why are these guys striking? As much as these strikes tarnish the image of SA so do their wages and living conditions, did you see hostels were Marikana miners live. We can say crap about Zim but as far as I know mine workers have decent homes there, you will never see shacks in mines. SA we have the biggest and richest mines but they can’t take care of their own. If they build accommodation for their employees it will be for the mine advantage as the value of the mine will increase whilst enjoying tax benefits as these costs will be tax deductible. How can mines maintain and promote the apartheid system of humiliating and treating these miners like animals. Yes most of them do not have academic qualification and so do rock drillers from UK or Australia but they live nicely. Its more tarnishing to treat your fellow human being like dirt, as long as this is not addressed we will be a toyi-toyi country till some hot head like Malema takes over and he  not take any prisoners

      henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-10-11 11:17

      Since when must a company take care of your living conditions? What i see though is that they do not even have the responsibility to clean the area that they stay in and keep it clean. And by the way, mines are taxed to death by the government that u voted for. Why are they not uplifting the infrastucture of these areas? Oh wait. The cadres are pocketing that money!

      Gatvol Griet - 2012-10-11 11:23

      Srange, as a white person livng on hal a rockdriller's salary, I have to provide my own living space...

      Willie - 2012-10-11 11:27

      @ henk.vanrensburg.31 - obviously you do not know the hitory of mines in SA, make an effort to find out. I'm no way condoning the behaviour of this strikers it is appauling and shocking

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-11 11:33

      I think it helps to look at bilateral contracts the mines signed with the government before they started mining. Anyway let me update you, mines are required to provide housing and all other social amenities for their employees this is done to compensate for their environmental damage, relocation and the fact that most mines are in remote areas. This is different from someone working in a bank, the problem we have in SA is people are ill-informed, take time to look at all agreements between government and mines and you will understand the concept. The hostel system was introduced by the apartheid government who wanted blacks to live like rats, but 2012 now the mining companies are racking in billions of rands in profit and haven’t improved the miners’ lives. Why are you people so evil that you don’t feel for these miners, if it were your son or father living like that were you going to be happy? Such mentality is recipe for disaster, until such is sorted one day is one day, it will explode

      rodney.overes - 2012-10-11 11:35

      Before government changed all the labor laws the mines did have a decent hostel system, witch the miners did not want any more as they were not allowed to get drunk and litter and do what they liked so they said no to the hostels and regulations. It was the workers own choice to take the money set aside as a living allowance. now they cry and say the mine is not looking after us.

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 11:41

      ignorant Lerato at it again The miners overseas are multiskilled (something your unions are against) and the output (productivity) levels are about 25% higher. Remove the unions and 80%of the problems is getting the workers skillied will be removed Lastly, those miners chose not to use the accomodation provided, bug instead use the housing allowance for something else, and by choice chose the townshipshacks. There are hundred of thousands of white people willing and capable to take these jobs, they can be found just outside Jhb and Pta in the white-townships. They will settle for less than what these opressed people get. So, no shortage of labour, and the pay is good. Can we now send those from the Eastern Cape back home, and employ the local lads? Sorry, I forgot, jobs are reserved by legislation for blacks only

      henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-10-11 11:43

      Thanks Rodney, Your response Lerato? And Lerato please provide me with a link that shows the billions of rand that Mining companies are making after tax? Please do!

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-11 11:55

      @ henk.vanrensburg.31 - Anglo American  results: Record Group operating profit(1) of $11.1 billion. Record underlying earnings(2) of $6.1 billion and underlying EPS of $5.06, a 23% increase. Take your time and browse their financials and appreciate. \r\n

      bheki.moyo.39 - 2012-10-11 11:57

      The miners should learn to;live on that little that they are getting and do not squander it on booze. When protesting for a pay rise they should learn desist from destroying what has been built already. No one has got the right to intimidate other workers when they choose not to strike. With that little they are getting they can rent or buy their own houses. So why are we seeing such destruction in this lovely country. The fact that leaders are corrupt must not be used as a right to burn trucks and destroy roads.

  • pamela.jacobs.509 - 2012-10-11 11:15

    What image?

  • Erna - 2012-10-11 11:16

    Talk, talk, talk. It is condemned, it is not right, it damages the image of SA, etc. BUT it is happening, and it is allowed to happen.

  • khaedu - 2012-10-11 11:17

    Ja, it. SA's image is tarnished, so?

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 11:50

      @k, just yesterday we lost more than 5.8 Billion Rands on the stock exchange. If you don't care, thats OK, but ask the next kwerekwere you run into why it is important. Maybe then you will wake up, or better still, move to Zim for an eyeopener. You talk about farmers with bread in your mouth, not realising where it comes from, you use electricity and a pc but don't know how it came about. That's what you need to find out

  • ken.koen - 2012-10-11 11:18

    Its not only strikes that tarnish the country, it is president Zuma's Ghadaffi, Amin and Hussein like tin pot behaviour with jets, compounds and presidential palaces that really put us in a bad light. And of course the next president will start all over again and buy his jets and build compounds and presidential palaces. All irregular if not criminal squandering of the nations money.

  • vambozha.mutemi.9 - 2012-10-11 11:20

    Ha ha ha and the cabinet also tarnished SA's image!

  • wikus.schalkwyk - 2012-10-11 11:22

    They all know what the problem is, yet they merely talk about it and do nothing to fix the problems. They let it get broken and are too shy to own up to fix the mess. Now that it is getting worse all they can do is point fingers. One wonders when poor old ap-art-heid will get the blame again...

  • hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 11:24

    Strikes = boicots =anc. Thus Anc is an embarrasment to us

  • carol.paterson.923 - 2012-10-11 11:31

    The strikes did not tarnish SA, SA tarnished the minute the ANC came into power and with the present 'gook' in power, the country's rusted completely. It's going to take years, centuries for this country to be restored to what it was. Unfortunately this won't happen while the ANC are in power.

  • hasmitha.daya - 2012-10-11 11:33

    if the head of this country is one who has criminal charges against him and is busy stuffing his pockets with tax payer's money and marrying anything over the age of 12, i hardly think that strikers are going to damage the reputation of this country.

      Gatvol Griet - 2012-10-11 11:38

      Right on, brother!

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-11 11:34

    Nothing can tarnish the image of the country more than a president who uses the treasury as his piggy bank. Where do they think the seeds of the strikes are sown. If people live in poverty whilst the comrades are fat and sleek in their expensive suits, this type of thing will keep on happening. Wake up to reality ! !

  • kelly.helfrich1 - 2012-10-11 11:37

    If Im not mistaken a law is in place to make any body or association responsible for the actions of their protesters, yet nothing happens. Shop stewards in Marikana and Carletonville are getting assasinated, and the police say they dont want to speculate on the motives behind the murders. Trucks and their driver are burnt and assaulted and they news reports say they think it might have something to do with the striking workers. Courts issue interdicts to stop the violence, but it makes no difference. There are laws prohibiting intimidation, but it makes no difference. Even when the police are there and witnessing the crimes, its too hard to provfe them in court and so nothing happens. Last year I was directly afftected by the NUMSA strike, and even when we called our security company when 200 strikers were in my driveway banging on our vehciles, doors and windows, the answer we got was "we dont get involved". Same from the police. Normally, I am the first person to defend the cops, and even the workers, but when the rules and regulations that are supposed to protect us are not enforced, we allow these people to hold us ransom. As with most strikes, the bulk of the workers are happy to come to work, and while they might not be happy with the pay, the do understand that they only hurt themselves by striking. Until we can prove that we can protest peacfully, I believe the right should be taken away.

  • civil.moabi - 2012-10-11 11:38

    but how do u tell that to ppl who dnt hav tv sets in their homes only ppl who have access to cnn and bbc will get worried about the image of S.A internationally

  • sagren.padayachie - 2012-10-11 11:42


  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-10-11 11:42

    Also murder,corruption,robbery and xenophobia.

  • ashwin.leckram - 2012-10-11 11:51

    "No one should resort to any forms of violence against people or property as a form of striking or protest." Sounds like the NP when the ANC was creating chaos. Oh wait. It is the ANC creating chaos.

  • donald.perumal - 2012-10-11 11:51

    Hi All Just the other day I engaged a fellow African(Zimabwean) in London and informed him that I have decided to go back home.He wanted to know where home was and I unhesitatingly blurted out SA.A funny expression came upon his face as he said "but you won't be safe there!" He went to explain why he liked England, saying "its the safety here that's keeping in dreary place".I agreed about the dreary BUT I said that SA can and will be safe SOON! He laughed -I cried within!

  • Brian Dorning - 2012-10-11 11:55

    Reputation? I didn't realize that we still had one!?!

  • ashwin.leckram - 2012-10-11 11:57

    Zoomers response: "we....(30 second delay), strongly condemn...(2 sec delay), hehehehehehe..."

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-10-11 12:12

    SA's image has long been tarnished by the corrupt ANC government. The srikes are just a by-product as people are sick and tired of struggling to live off what little they earn while ANC government and their cronies live in luxury.

  • Mafezzo - 2012-10-11 12:18

    Image my foot, we earn peanuts yet u worry abt de image

  • Vince.York - 2012-10-11 12:34

    unwavering blind support for the wrong decisions that small cabbel of +/-4500 dictating the anc, is the root cause for SA's spiral into freefall corrupt bankruptcy especially since zuma decided he could tribalise democracy in his "My Way Democracy" all or nothing style.............AND THEY STILL WILL NOT SEE REALITY. TIME UP chaps!

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-10-11 12:35

    Maharaj: "Hey, Williams, put this out, will you? We need to say something." Williams: "But I wouldn't write drivel like that; it criticizes the workers." Maharaj: "That's the whole point. They embarrass our shareholding MPs and we want to be seen as conciliators." Williams: "But we've done nothing. Our laurels belong to the Police." Maharaj: "For goo'ness sake, don't add that. They'll demand twelve-five as well!"

  • khathu.rasi - 2012-10-11 12:54

    Tell that to the unions and their cronnies, and c if they care about rights of others

  • tony.naidoo - 2012-10-11 13:08

    STRIKES? Not fractionally as bad as our unsophisticated, half-wit wannabe politokoloshes! International jokes. No need to be caricatured in any cartoon. A comedy of errors. What a circus. Clowns tripping over moneybags. Strikes may be counter-productive....but, at least, they are ORGANISED!.

  • glenda.mackay.18 - 2012-10-11 14:06

    Not only, but the safety and securty is also a big issue, which in Thailnd, where I am visiting at the moment, has been mentioned. They, the Thais, cannot apprehend, the security one requires at your home e.g. Electric fences,armed response. Furthermore the disrespect of life in general!

  • David Steyn - 2012-10-11 17:27

    Democracy? Will someone out there please explain to me what a democracy is. How does a system like BEE, AA, quotas in sport etc fit into a democracy. Specially if only one minorty group is affected by it.Maybe we should call it what it is. Revenge/Payback time

  • rory.short1 - 2012-10-11 22:16

    I heard an analyst commenting recently that to attribute the current wave of labour unrest solely to worker dissatisfaction with their earnings is a cop out.It is too simplistic. Rather the unrest should be seen as a symptom of a far deeper unhappiness within society, particularly amongst the poorer citizens. Unhappiness that, 18 years after the elections in 1994, the political slogan of 'a better life for all' has not yet been realised for them, nor does there seem to be much prospect of it being realised in the foreseeable future either. Getting rid of Apartheid in 1994 was a necessary step on the road to the upliftment of our people but it was not the only step that needed to be taken. There are other equally vital steps that still need to be taken if all people are to fully partake in a better life for all. The first is moving away from the current generally accepted structure for economic enterprises where there are always two camps involved the owner/managers on the one hand and the employees on the other. This kind of of organisation is inherently conflict ridden and disempowering for the employees. We as a society should make co-ownership the legislatively preferred organisation for economic enterprises. There are many successfully working models to draw upon in this regard. Secondly money should be democratised. Basically new money should, within predefined limits, be issued free of charge to any one who needs it.

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