Mbeki speaks on challenging times for SA

2014-03-21 00:00

THE conflict between the ruling elite and the business elite is the main reason preventing the development of any co-ordinated strategy to improve the country’s economic growth.

Espousing his usual wit, Moeletsi Mbeki, political commentator and the brother of former president Thabo Mbeki was in Pietermaritzburg yesterday. He was addressing the city’s business and professional people at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce.

Mbeki spoke on a wide range of issues, including the economy, education and labour.

Offering his view on the economy’s challenge, Mbeki said previously the people who controlled the government also controlled the productions.

“But that has changed — those who control production no longer control the state and therefore there is conflict, especially with the businesses feeling vulnerable to losing their assets and corruption,” he said.

Warning that the huge number of unemployed people was a time bomb waiting to explode, Mbeki said urgent job-creation was the only solution.

On the poor standards of education, he said lip service and money was being poured into it, but there was no real commitment to turn the tide because it was simply not a priority.

Turning to Cosatu, he said signs did not bode well for its future.

That the union has all but split, is old news, he said.

“We can see that Cosatu has split. Over time, Cosatu will not exist … Unions such as the Mineworkers and Construction Union will probably move to form a new federation”, said Mbeki.

“What has happened now is that there are nine unions that are supporting Zwelinzima Vavi [the suspended secretary general] and there are 11 unions that are supporting Sdumo Dlamini [the president of Cosatu]”.

Mbeki said what was interesting to note was that the split also went along the line of public sector and private sector unions, private sector unions were all going with Vavi while the public sector went with Sdumo, meaning Vavi had the productive unions.

He said the threats by National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa to establish a worker’s party underlined the tension currently being played out between the unions and the ANC.

From the research they had done in the run up to the ANC Mangaung Elective conference, Mbeki said they learnt that many workers were not pleased with the current government and more than 60% had said they would support the formation of and vote for the worker’s party.

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