South Africa’s labour unions have gone wild over the past years and President Cyril Ramaphosa must confront them on their constant excessive demands. The unions have stalled economic reforms. They have swayed public policies in their favor. They wield too much power in the country – and their opposition to sound economic reform has contributed to the economic sluggishness this country endures.
Now it’s very important that I’m not misunderstood. I do not want any misunderstanding on my position regarding the role of labour unions in our society.
I’m a passionate advocate and believer in freedom of association. So, I’m not at all opposed to the existence of labour unions in South Africa and indeed anywhere around the world. People have the right to organize and form organizations whatever the intent may be so long as the intent is not violence or the spread of hate.
Labour unions have played a significant and indispensable role in shaping South Africa’s history. They mobilized to push back against apartheid during the 1980s. Our current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, was a participant in that anti-apartheid mobilization. He was a unionist before he came into politics through the ANC.
I cannot, however, refrain from pointing out the serious problems brought by the current African National Congress (ANC) government’s alliance with labour unions. This alliance harms the potential for market-oriented economic reform in South Africa.
Every South African should understand how unions function, especially the role they play in our democracy.