Ditch private schools – Cosatu

2010-09-16 07:09

Doing away with private schools forms part of the Congress of SA Trade Union’s social policy outlined in its economic growth-path document launched this week.

“[There is an] urgent need to eliminate the three-tiered structure of the education system which features private institutions, model-C schools and ordinary public schools and to redistribute resources toward ordinary public schools in working class and poor communities,” Cosatu’s growth-path document read.

The document proposed wide-ranging reforms of the South African economy to rescue it from its current “crisis”.

Social policy proposals were included, ranging from education and health to safety and security.

The education system proposed by Cosatu should be equitable, levelling the “playing field” for all pupils, and it should promote human rights, decent work and a culture of learning and teaching.

The federation also proposes the establishment of a housing parastatal to co-ordinate housing delivery.

Government should “lead” housing delivery and minimise the “profit motive” in this area.

Providing state housing was driven by tenders, placing it at the “mercy of economies of profit maximisation”.

Cosatu suggested a 5% “prescribed asset investment and levy” on companies to fund housing.

It also urged the expropriation of land to address housing backlogs by removing the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle which was currently the norm.

This echoed a call by the ANC Youth League who proposed that the property clause of the Constitution be amended to remove the willing buyer, willing seller principle.

To deal with crime and corruption, Cosatu proposed a move away from “militaristic and authoritarian” behaviour of the police toward a more “socially-orientated” approach.

The training of the whole criminal-justice system should be overhauled in terms of “culture, methodology and content” and police resources should be increased.

“This will ease the burden faced by police, improve working conditions and make it possible for communities to actively participate in crime fighting initiatives,” the document read.

It repeated its call for lifestyle audits to deal with corruption.

Further measures to tackle this included a “naming and shaming list”, blacklisting companies and individuals found guilty of corruption and limiting the use of tenders to provide services.

Instead, the state should build the capacity to deliver directly.

Cosatu also proposed the establishment of a body, outside of the state, to independently monitor and evaluate government performance in its delivery of services and use of resources.

Cosatu’s health interventions include the setting up of a state pharmaceutical company.

The state should also lead the process of training of nurses and doctors and should reverse its “reliance” on public-private partnerships in the sector.

It also proposed an inflation-linked basic income grant, a comprehensive social security system focusing on “redistribution“, funding for the system should be through the tax system “by raising the tax/GDP (gross domestic product) ratio to 30% and corporate taxes”.

Cosatu’s document would be discussed within the ruling alliance with the ANC and the SA Communist Party.

Bickering in the alliance has often stemmed from the ANC’s resistance to Cosatu’s left-leaning economic proposals.

The ANC’s national general council to take place next week is set to consider a youth league proposal to nationalise South Africa’s mines.

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