What the NGC means for Cosatu

2010-09-18 13:41

We will air our dissatisfaction with the ANC

Cosatu is generally unhappy with the ANC leadership and government’s failure to come up with a comprehensive industrial strategy and to break with the economic ­trajectory government has been following since 1996.

The labour federation has raised concerns about the conservative monetary and fiscal policy framework government has been ­implementing.

For example, Cosatu leaders believe that the Reserve Bank should drop inflation ­targeting, which they say stifles the potential of the economy to grow at higher rates.

They also believe that creating jobs should be the main target of monetary policy while factors such as price stability should carry less weight.

They also argue that the central bank should actively manage the exchange value of the currency and keep it at rates that ­encourage the exportation of ­locally ­produced goods, rather than leave it to ­market forces.

Cosatu also wants the state to intervene more actively in the economy to address growing social inequalities. Its new economic policy document proposes a “redistributive” tax to be levied on society’s top 10% of ­earners to boost the bottom 10%.

The federation is unhappy about what it sees as the slow-footed way in which the ­ruling party has gone about implementing some of the policy proposals it championed in Polokwane, including the scrapping of ­labour brokers and the introduction of a comprehensive national health insurance.

Cosatu is also worried about the growth of the phenomenon of corruption, and has warned that it could turn the country into a “predator state”.

The federation’s recently unveiled central executive committee discussion paper warns about the creation of corruption and ­patronage networks, which means “no one will be able to do business with the state without going through corrupt ­gatekeepers”.

It cites the recent ArcelorMittal BEE deal, in which people close to President Jacob ­Zuma have benefited, as an example of the emergence of a “predatory elite”.

The discussion document clearly states: “When key actors in this patronage network are close to people in power, the situation is particularly serious since the likelihood of decisive action being taken to stop these practices becomes increasingly slim.”

Cosatu also disagrees with the ANC and its other ally, the SA Communist Party, on the constitutionality and nature of the media appeals tribunal.

While it agrees with their contention that print media’s self-regulation is inadequate, it believes that a tribunal should operate at an arm’s length from politicians.

It also believes that issues such as the ­national health insurance are more pressing than the need for media regulation.

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