‘Alienation of masses’ behind ANC drop in Gauteng – David Makhura

2014-06-06 12:54

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the reason the ANC fared badly in Gauteng is because “there is a huge alienation of the masses”.

“When Bekkersdal is angry, you go there to absorb the pressure. We can’t send officials to deal with [service-delivery] protests when people are angry. I am an activist, I go where it is tense. You go there to absorb the pressure,” Makhura said at the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) special congress today.

He added that unions needed to go back to being activist unions and not just make radical statements for the sake of the press.

In addition, Makhura said unions should keep the lines of communication with government open at all times, instead of waiting to go on strike when they were unhappy.

Makhura, who was elected premier of Gauteng two weeks ago, said the legacy of colonialism still persisted in the province.

“We lead the biggest economy in South Africa and the fourth biggest in Africa yet black people are still living in the margins of society,” said Makhura.

He added that workers should not be treated as accidents that could be disposed of – but as a necessity. This is why Gauteng was working towards creating decent jobs.

“We need good jobs or is this a sweatshop economy? People can’t just live to work,” said Makhura.

Makhura also said Gauteng would look at economic inclusion. It would focus on townships because “public resources must be concentrated where the majority of people live”.

With regards to black economic empowerment (BEE), Makhura said he didn’t support the idea of people being signed on as directors of companies who played golf but did not add value to the South African economy.

“We want industrialists, not the BEE of giving shares so they spend the whole day playing golf. They are just agents of capital.”

He said the province would continue concentrating on building transport infrastructure by taking more BRT buses to the poor areas of Gauteng, unlike “the DA in Cape Town where they first start BRT in the suburbs for the elite. Our BRT is in the townships.”

Makhura, who is a former deputy secretary of Nehawu, said there was plenty of confusion in labour federation Cosatu.

“There is lots of confusion ... Some parties act like vanguard parties. What I know about Nehawu is that there is no double speak. No equivocation. Our political and economic policies are clear.”

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