‘Won’t fight all SOE pri­vati­sa­tion’

But will op­pose it if de­struc­tive and reck­less el­e­ments like job losses are part of process

Pretoria News - - NATION - SIVIWE FEKETHA [email protected]

COSATU’S lead­er­ship has in­di­cated that it would not un­con­di­tion­ally op­pose the pri­vati­sa­tion of some of the state-owned en­ti­ties (SOEs).

Cosatu’s cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee held its meet­ing from Mon­day to Wed­nes­day, where it de­cided that it would op­pose pri­vati­sa­tion when it had de­struc­tive el­e­ments, in­clud­ing job losses.

Cosatu sec­re­tary-general Bheki Nt­shal­intshali said pri­vati­sa­tion should not be reck­less.

“We con­tinue to re­ject pri­vati­sa­tion that takes the re­sources of the coun­try out of the hands of the peo­ple. The re­trench­ment of 900 work­ers at the ArcelorMit­tal plant in Sal­danha Bay is a re­minder of what reck­less pri­vati­sa­tion has done to peo­ple’s lives,” Nt­shal­intshali said.

He in­di­cated the fed­er­a­tion’s sup­port for plans to re­struc­ture SOEs in or­der to in­crease ef­fi­ciency.

This comes as the fed­er­a­tion is be­ing ac­cused of dilly dal­ly­ing on its po­si­tion on the pri­va­tion of SOEs by the state.

Re­cently, the fed­er­a­tion came un­der at­tack after it re­it­er­ated its stance that it did not op­pose the par­tial pri­vati­sa­tion on non-strate­gic SOEs.

Nt­shal­intshali slammed the SAA, SA Ex­press, SABC and Eskom for not in­volv­ing unions in their re­struc­tur­ing plans, which in­cluded plans to re­trench work­ers.

“Cosatu sup­ports the at­tempts to re­struc­ture state en­ti­ties in or­der to im­prove cor­po­rate gov­er­nance, ac­count­abil­ity, ef­fi­ciency and the ex­e­cu­tion of their pub­lic man­date,” he said.

He said SOEs had to be fixed in or­der to en­sure that they strength­ened the ca­pac­ity of the state and not be­come a bur­den to it.

“Their role is to help drive gov­ern­ment’s de­vel­op­men­tal agenda and cen­tral to this is the pro­vi­sion of af­ford­able, good qual­ity ser­vices to all South

Africans. The dis­cus­sions around the SOEs and DFIs (de­vel­op­ment fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions) should be about build­ing the de­vel­op­men­tal state in a man­ner that en­com­passes them as part of a wider pub­lic sec­tor that in­te­grally and seam­lessly works with the pub­lic ser­vice,” he said.

Nt­shal­intshali said the fed­er­a­tion be­lieved that new SOEs had to be es­tab­lished into other strate­gic sec­tors of the econ­omy, in­clud­ing min­er­als, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, bank­ing and re­new­able en­ergy.

Among its res­o­lu­tions, Cosatu’s cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee de­cided that its op­po­si­tion would be that of the pri­vati­sa­tion of strate­gic SOEs, in­clud­ing Eskom, and a fight against re­trench­ments.

Nt­shal­intshali said Cosatu was pleased with the progress of re­con­fig­ur­ing the ANC-led al­liance.

“It is now en­cour­ag­ing that now we have a sit­u­a­tion where all al­liance part­ners to­tally agree on the need for a fun­da­men­tal change in the na­ture of the al­liance,” Nt­shal­intshali said.

He said Cosatu was, how­ever, un­happy with the con­tin­ued de­ploy­ment of scan­dal-prone and tainted lead­ers in gov­ern­ment by the ANC.

“We also, de­mand that go­ing for­ward the al­liance needs to en­sure that we de­ploy eth­i­cal lead­er­ship. If the al­liance is to suc­ceed in lead­ing so­ci­ety, we can­not al­low tainted in­di­vid­u­als to con­tinue rep­re­sent­ing the ANC,” he said.

TRANS­PORT Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula ad­dressed the me­dia after a site inspection of Cape Town Sta­tion fol­low­ing the burn­ing of 18 train car­riages in the early hours yes­ter­day. Mbalula was joined by of­fi­cials from the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of South Africa as well as Metro Rail West­ern Cape man­age­ment. | AR­MAND HOUGH African News Agency (ANA)

Bheki Nt­shal­intshali

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