Call for fiscal policy review

2008-05-02 00:00

Rising food prices, the proposed Eskom tariff hikes and the delayed release of Zimbabwean election results, dominated the addresses made by the Tripartite Alliance leaders at the Workers Day celebrations rally held at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall yesterday.

Addressing a packed City Hall Siphiwe Gwala, the provincial treasurer of the South African Communist Party (SACP) labelled the food price hikes the worst “capitalist assault on the conditions of the workers and the poor” in the country.

“The rising food prices are leading to the silent mass murder of our people. We appreciate that some of the factors that are contributing to the hikes are global factors.

“However, it is also our neo-liberal policies that have made us more vulnerable to these hikes,” he said. Gwala also warned that the proposed Eskom tariff hikes would “worsen the misery of the people thus lowering their standards of living”.

Gwala also called on the government to review the policy of inflation targeting and also “review the mandate” of the Reserve Bank.

Zweli Mkhize, the deputy provincial chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) called on the workers to mobilise around issues such as crime and corruption and also to ensure that the government remains accountable.

“We did not struggle to be liberated only so that we become the victims of criminals,” he said adding that the revival of street committees would serve as a crime deterrent.

Mkhize also said ordinary citizens had a role to play in ensuring the provision of better education and better education and healthcare to all citizens.

“You cannot interrupt the cycle of poverty unless you make sure that everybody is educated,” he said.

Mkhize warned that the power cuts were having an adverse effect on both big and small businesses. This, he said, has an impact on the workers.

“It is our duty as workers, as municipalities and as government to work closely with and assist these businesses so that we do not end up with massive unemployment.”

On Zimbabwe, Mkhize called on African leaders to come up with a solution to the crisis while saying that the struggle of the workers in Zimbabwe is the struggle of the workers in this country.

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