Zuma has proven he's not a political vandal – COSATU

Pravin Gordhan is not a friend of the working class and he will need some real reorientation, says Federation

COSATU has noted the latest cabinet reshuffle

14 December 2015

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the re-appointment of Cde Pravin Ghordan ;as the new Minister of Finance to replace Cde David van Rooyen. We have also noted the subsequent shifting of Cde David van Rooyen , who has since been appointed as the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs. While these sudden changes have created uncertainty and a certain degree of confusion, we respect the president’s attempts and efforts to fix ,what people of this country were objecting to. We wish the new ministers well in their new positions.

In the statement released to announce the appointment the president said "I have received many representations to reconsider my decision."As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views. We commend him for listening to people’s objections , views and proposals. He has proven that he is not a political vandal but he is a tough minded leader prepared to listen and change some of his decisions when necessary.

We hope the president listened and considered the views of the taxpayers and voters and did not only succumb to the markets.  We cannot afford to have an economic system that is allowed to assert its primacy over our society and lays down the law to the political leadership and the entire society. Society should dictate its rules to the economy and not the other way round.

While, we acknowledge Mr Ghordan’s experience and hope he will bring with him some prudence, insight and dynamism to help  sail the ship out of troubled waters, we have no illusions about the meaning of his  appointment to the workers. He was the one ,who frustrated and delayed  the release of the NHI White Paper for three years, and pushed for the adoption of the Taxation Law Amendment Act of 2013. He blocked the release of the Comprehensive Social Security paper and had treasury meddling in other department’s matters.

Mr Pravin Ghordan is not a friend of the working class and he will need some real reorientation; if he is to get the total support of the workers. We will only throw our full support behind him only if he signs in to an honest progressive agenda. This economy has for a long time failed to serve the interest of working class .

COSATU is aware that the hysteria from some quarters with regard to the cabinet reshuffle was ideological. Some people did not want Cde David van Rooyen because they were uncertain about his ideological orientation and were fearful that he might not be a neoliberal priest like Cde Pravin Ghordan and Cde Nhlanhla Nene. We objected to it because of the current economic climate, his inexperience and the overall timing was bad. We were also unsettled by the vague reasons behind the reshuffle. But we are prepared to work with anyone ,who is experienced and is prepared to put a stop to the continuation of this neoliberal economic framework that is being pursued by the Treasury.

We think that all of our energies and focus should now be on correcting what is wrong with the economy and lifting it back to its feet. We need to discuss, what actions are necessary to bring it back from the brink and prevent the ongoing job losses across all sectors. The high unemployment rate and deepening poverty levels means that we don’t have the luxury to be distracted by the sideshows and peripheral issues.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 14 December 2015