There is no honeymoon period for new President – COSATU

Federation says there is no time for handling crooks with kid gloves

COSATU congratulates President Cyril Ramaphosa on his election and we remind him that there is no honeymoon period for him

15 February 2018

The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa on his well deserved and long overdue election as President of the Republic of South Africa. We are proud of this product of the National Union of Mineworkers and our federation COSATU.  He has an outstanding resume as a student activists and a leader of the trade union movement. He led NUM to become the largest union in the country and led the largest strike at the height of apartheid.  He was one of the lead negotiators representing the ANC during the CODESA and the constitutional processes in Parliament. 

Whilst we are happy that he has now been elected President of the Republic of South Africa and that now we can move on from the political nightmares that have bedeviled us for a long time, we are not writing government a blank cheque. We will give him all the necessary support as our president, but there will be no honeymoon period. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to be engaging but decisive. There is no time for handling crooks with kid gloves.  There is no time for laziness when addressing the jobs blood bath and unemployment.  We demand an activist, capacitated developmental state that we have long fought for.

We expect the new incoming president to restore confidence in the ANC and its government by giving its government a facelift. He needs to deal with mediocrity and bureaucratic arrogance that has paralysed government over the last few years. Some ministers and government leaders need to be removed and replaced in order for our economy to grow and the people centred development to thrive.

COSATU expects government to wake up to the economic crisis that is drowning workers and their families in poverty and the rising unemployment.  We expect government to crack down on the rampant levels of corruption and wasteful expenditure threatening the very survival of the state and nation.  Lastly we caution and advise him to ensure that government acts with humility, decency and integrity.  We must leave behind the days of political and bureaucratic arrogance and put the people first.

COSATU shall be convening its CEC meeting in two weeks time and we expect an Alliance meeting to be convened soon to discuss the matters that relate to the Alliance.

SONA expectations

The federation expect tomorrow’s  SONA to flesh out in detail work plans, timeframes and targets on the following matters of critical importance to workers and their families:

A Jobs Plan

- We want an urgent convening of the long promised Presidential Jobs Summit with a path towards building a growing economy that creates a million decent jobs per annum.

- An end to labour broking, outsourcing and privatisation, especially in the state as well as the retail sector.

- Re-industrialisation of the manufacturing sector.

- Boost our exports, especially to Africa.

- Reskilling of the workers.

- Work with all social partners to stem the tide of retrenchments

National Minimum Wage

- A clear assurance that it will be passed by Parliament and come into law on 1 May without delays.

Crime and Corruption

- A clear commitment to end the culture of looting and state capture.

- Heads must roll at NPA, Hawks and SAPS.  The leadership that has allowed state capture to thrive needs to go.

Wasteful Expenditure

- Government needs to curb wasteful expenditure and must hold people accountable.

- The bloated cabinet must be reduced by half and the captured fired ministers fired immediately.

- Bling lifestyles of the political elite at the expense of the tax payer must be stopped.


- We call for a national plan that will address as a matter of the highest urgency the water crises threatening the W. Cape, E. Cape, N. Cape and parts of the F. State and KZN and Gauteng.  These must be based on sustainable paths that include recycling, desalination and conservation.  This is an opportunity to protect health and the environment and also create jobs.

State Owned Enterprises

- South needs a clear plan to clean up Eskom, SAA, SABC, Denel and SASSA.  This must include comprehensive forensic audits and the arrest, prosecution and the seizure of assets of all those implicated in corruption.

- An improvement of governance and management systems in the SOE’s that will help put them on a sustainable financial footing.  This must definitely not include privatisation.

National Health Insurance and Comprehensive Social Security

- COSATU wants clear commitments and timeframes to fast track the roll out of both the NHI and Comprehensive Social Security. We need to ensure that they serve the working and middle classes and not simply dominant monopoly industries.


- We need clear sustainable funding models to ensure free and affordable tertiary education for the working and middle classes.

- We also need clear plans to address the infrastructure, quality and overcrowding crisis at schools.


- The government needs to clarify once and for all government’s plans to expand nuclear energy.

- We need a clear plan and commitment to ensure that no jobs will be lost, whilst the renewable energy sector expands.  Government must have a plan with industry and labour that provides for the re-skilling and absorption of any worker, whose job will be threatened by the changes in the energy sector.


- COSATU wants the end of the capture of SASSA by CPS.

- The Presidency and National Treasury needs to take over the process of transferring social grant payments to the Post Bank.

Land Reform and Agriculture

- We expect a logical and clear plan to speed up land reform and restitution.

- We also demand a clear plan to protect and grow the agricultural sector, the largest employer after the public sector.

- The SONA should also present a plan to protect the rights of farm workers and ensure they have security of tenure.


- Cde Cyril Ramaphosa needs to resolve the issue of E Tolls.

- We also want a commitment to address the collapse of Metro Rail and a commitment and a plan to expand safe and accessible public transport.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 15 February 2018