Alliance summit silent on key issues - Vavi

Johannesburg - The statement issued by the ANC and its alliance partners after a summit last week is silent on several key issues, including the crises in state-owned enterprises, and is in conflict with views Cosatu is supposed to have, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Sunday.

"The most outrageous feature of the statement is its silence on the basic bread-and-butter issues facing the working class. There is not a word about the crisis of mass unemployment, poverty and inequality," he said in a statement.

"There is silence on the outsourcing and casualisation of labour and the continuing use of labour brokers, our dysfunctional public education and health services.

"Does this mean that the summit did not discuss these critical issues, or that they were not considered important enough to mention in the statement? Either way, it is a crushing indictment of the Cosatu leadership that they signed a statement that ignored such matters, and again confirms that they are no longer an independent, militant workers’ voice."

The African National Congress, the SA Communist Party (SACP), the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), and the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) met over five days from June 27 to July 1. 

Vavi said there was only a general statement by the alliance on the developmental role of state owned enterprises.

"The summit statement says nothing about the ongoing crises in many state-owned enterprises and public institutions – Eskom, SAA [SA Airways], PetroSA, SAPO [the SA Post Office], NPA [the National Prosecuting Authority], SAPS [the SA Police Service], SARS [the SA Revenue Service], IPID [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate], Hawks, etc," Vavi said.

"The only exception is the SABC, though even there it falls short of demanding the implementation of the Public Protector’s damning report."

The alliance said in its statement it "expressed deep concern at the erosion of the SABC’s ability to fulfill its public mandate".

"This is caused by inadequate public funding, private corporate capture and the virtual monopoly of pay-TV by a single company. Linked to this has been the sale of the SABC archive to Multichoice and thus the privatisation of what should be our shared national heritage," it said.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in February 2014 that the salary of SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who was still acting in the same position at the time, had increased from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year, and also that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC.

Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days.

In July 2014, however, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng's permanent appointment.

The alliance also mentioned the overspending on the security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in its statement.

"The alliance calls on government and the courts to conclude all civil, criminal and disciplinary matters directed at those responsible for the gross inflation of both the scope and costs of the project," it said.

Vavi said this view was in conflict with Cosatu's view that the government must take responsibility. The alliance instead "shifts blame to scapegoats".

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