Out with labour brokers, Nzimande urges

2012-06-04 23:07

Durban - The government should not do business with companies that use labour brokers, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Monday.

Addressing the ninth congress of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) in Durban, he also had a dig at the department of public works.

He said it should employ more people to do the government's work instead of giving out tenders to the private sector.

"All companies that win major infrastructure tenders from government must not use labour brokers," Nzimande said.

"No one will be given a tender by government if he or she is using labour brokers."

Nzimande, who is also the country's higher education minister, warned that corruption as a result of government tenders could dislodge the party from government.

He said that the ANC itself was not a corrupt organisation, but there were possibly corrupt individuals.

Public works programmes such as public housing should not be put to tender, but should be completed by the department of public works.

"Workers must be employed to do this work on a permanent and an ongoing basis so that we de-tenderise the state."

Nzimande also said there was a need for the "socialisation" of the country's financial sector and a need for "strategic control over public and financial institutions".

"We are going to intensify the struggle for workers to make sure that they have an effective say over the investment of their pension and provident funds."

He claimed middlemen were fleecing Numsa's pension funds.

Nzimande said if there were trillions of rands in pension funds, there was no reason workers should not receive a housing subsidy.

Referring to the proposed national health insurance programme, he urged the government to ensure it was not exploited by private companies.

The global financial crisis was ensuring that "racialised poverty and racialised inequality" remained in the country.

He urged the SACP and Numsa to iron out their differences directly and not through the media.

Unacceptable attacks

Numsa president Cedric Gina took aim at big business when he addressed the delegates and urged the government to "begin with immediate effect to discipline capital."

He said incentives for business had not resulted in new jobs or increased the country's manufacturing capability.

Government policies had benefited business and not the workers.

"It is not business that has voted for the ANC," he said, adding that "now workers needed to benefit" from government policies.

He urged the congress to discuss the "revival of FW de Klerk" and the "arrogance of [Democratic Alliance leader] Helen Zille".

"Her's is a clear political strategy that we must expose," he said.

Her "attacks" on Congress of SA Trade Union secretary Zwelinzima Vavi were unacceptable.

Gina bemoaned the fact that South Africa had the most unequal society.

Earlier, Durban mayor James Nxumalo said the eThekwini municipality would turn 3 000 contract and temporary workers into full-time employees before 2016.

He said the city had already done so with 2 000 workers in the past two years.

The municipality would formalise the employment of a further 3 000 casual contract or temporary workers by the time his term of office ended, Nxumalo said.

This would happen in 2016 when local government elections were held.

"I am hoping that as we move forward we will be in a position in eThekwini where there will be no employee who is employed temporarily or employed through agencies by the end of our term of office," the mayor said.

Numsa and its affiliates in the Congress of SA Trade Unions have been calling for an end to labour casualisation and for the banning of labour brokers.