Only effective anti-corruption protest will be 2019 election - expert | Fin24

Only effective anti-corruption protest will be 2019 election - expert

Sep 28 2017 12:45
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Any real protest against corruption can only be made at the national election in 2019, Sable International director Andrew Rissik said on Thursday.

He was commenting on the impact of protest action like the one-day national anti-corruption strike and marches initiated by trade federation Cosatu on Wednesday.

"There are both direct and indirect economic impacts - both of people being physically disrupted and those of people who put off doing business just to avoid any potentially frustrating or dangerous situations," he explained.

"Of course (on Wednesday) there has been an economic impact, but more worrying for me is that it’s just another day of disruption, further hurting our already ailing economy."

He does not think such strike action necessarily engenders confidence and hope.

"The noble cause of protesting against corruption can only happen at the ballot boxes in 2019," he concluded.

Tumisho Grater, an economic strategist at Novare Actuaries and Consultants, told Fin24 on Wednesday it has to be borne in mind that the impact of a one-day strike may not be as significant as that of protracted industrial action.

Economist Mike Schüssler agreed that short one- or two-day strikes do not leave lasting damage, and one normally sees a lot more catching up on short strikes.

"We keep shooting ourselves in both feet with long strikes, but these days with blatant corruption in front of our very eyes. None of those who are robbing us blind via our state-owned enterprises or government departments have been held accountable. Only the smaller players have been held to account and outside firms such as Bell Pottinger," said Schüssler.

Strikes put pressure on SMEs

Strikes like the one on Wednesday add to negative pressure on SA's small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, according to Karl Westvig, CEO of Retail Capital.

"The small business owners are very sensitive to political disruptions, and consumers are also holding back through restricted buying power," he told Fin24.

"We’ve recently experienced a technical recession, gross domestic product forecasts have been revised down and as retail capital we are seeing retailers and restaurants with up to 30% decreases in turnover in the corresponding periods."

On Wednesday Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber, told Fin24 the strike disadvantages businesses with downtime - and with a low growth forecast, this is the last thing SA needs.

"However, we understand that we have an unacceptable level of state capture corruption, and if (Wednesday's) message is heard, I hope it will have some effect on a practice that is eroding the very soul of our country," she said.
"It is the working class who suffer in a national strike as many may lose their day’s wages. Those are the people we should protect the most."

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cosatu  |  strikes  |  sa economy  |  labour  |  election


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