We cautiously welcome Ramaphosa's stimulus package - COSATU

Federation concerned though about the lack of details in this package

COSATU statement on government's Economic Stimulus Package

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) cautiously welcomes President Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus package that was announced on Friday.  We are pleased that the President has heard the demands of workers for the state to act urgently to halt the jobs bloodbath, create new jobs, boost investments, stimulate the economy and move the economy out of the recession.

We welcome the reprioritization of government funds to drive infrastructure in particular transport, ports, roads and schools.  We support the focus on township and rural economic development and land reform and emerging farmers.

We applaud the commitment to fill badly needed health post vacancies.  However these 2200 posts are a drop when compared to the 149 000 public service vacancies.  These critical service delivery posts must be filled, especially nurses, doctors, teachers, police and correctional service officers.  Government must intervene to stop SABC, SAA and ESKOM’s planned retrenchments of thousands of workers.

However, we are concerned about the lack of details in this package and we hope the National Treasury can supply the nation with more details, especially about the government programmes that will be cut to fund the stimulus.  What will be done to avoid mass looting as happened with previous state stimulus programmes, where government bought the wrong size trains and the Guptas ran off with billions.

It is also about time we hear from business what will they bring to the party.  It cannot simply be about a government stimulus for profits only on the one hand and an investment strike on the other.   Business must heed COSATU’s demand for s moratorium on retrenchments. 

COSATU appreciates this as part of what government will bring to the Presidential Jobs and Investment Summits in October.  However we are deeply concerned by the lack of concrete proposals that both government and business have tabled at Nedlac in preparation for these critical summits to date.

Much more is needed to turn around this stagnant economy, to see economic growth rates of 3%, to reduce our intolerable unemployment rate of 36%, to create the badly needed 100 000 new permanent, decent jobs each month.

A mass jobs programme is needed and this jobs plan needs to target sectors rich with development opportunities e.g. energy, water, transport, auto-manufacturing, recycling, agriculture, tourism and education.  We need to see a serious plan to reindustrialise the economy, to boost manufacturing, to increase our exports and trade with Africa, to skill our work force, to plan a humane and just transition to the 4th industrial revolution.

Whilst we applaud and support the President’s efforts, too many of his ministers, premiers, mayors, SOE executives, DGs are simply incapable of resuscitating this economy.  The sooner something is done about bureaucratic arrogance, incompetence and mediocrity the better.

Statement issued by COSATU, 23 September 2018