‘Won’t fight all SOE privatisation’
But will oppose it if destructive and reckless elements like job losses are part of process
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)