Cosatu rejects De Klerk's view on unions

2012-09-07 22:20

Johannesburg - Cosatu on Friday rejected former president FW de Klerk's view that the main inequality divide in South Africa was no longer race, but was between workers and the unemployed.

"The main inequalities remain between a still mainly white and male capitalist class, who form a small, rich minority on the one hand, and a large overwhelming black working class majority, in which the employed and unemployed share poverty," Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Friday.

He said the directors of listed companies still earned about 1 735 times what their average workers were paid.

Speaking in Cape Town on Thursday, De Klerk said the main inequality divide in South Africa was no longer between blacks and whites, but between unionised and employed workers on the one hand, and the unemployed on the other.

He criticised the ruling party's affirmative action and black economic empowerment policies, saying they affected only the top 10% to 15% of the income pyramid, with little or no impact on the rest of society.

Craven argued that the difference between workers and the unemployed was negligible.

"But what De Klerk scandalously overlooks is that most employed workers support as many as 12 family members from their meagre wages."

He said 70% of unemployed people's meagre income was in the form of remittances from their employed relatives.

Craven said De Klerk insinuated that inequalities between blacks and whites had declined.

"Africans, who constitute 79.4% of the population, account for 41.2% of the household income from work and social grants, whereas whites, who account only for 9.2% of the population, receive 45.3 percent of national income," he said.

  • blou.johnny - 2012-09-07 22:43

    ....if you cant feed them, ...dont breed them...!! .......stupid fools...

  • sarel.brits - 2012-09-07 22:58

    Non so blind as those who don't want to see,what did you expect Mr De Klerk, I wonder who or what the Heroic Cosatu will defend the oppressed masses against once their ANC partners re distributed all the white imperialist money. These useless organisations and people like Malema need a bogeyman to validate themselves.

  • press.enter.12 - 2012-09-07 23:04

    I want to be one of those whites that receive 45.3% of the national income as well . . . .

      matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-09-08 11:41

      I've met some highly successful black entrepreneurs (as in top 1% kind of wealth) in my short working career and these guys didn't rely on handouts, don't rely in government tenders and aren't politically connected. They worked hard from the bottom up and didn't blame Apartheid (which is when most of them made their wealth) or blame the white man for their humble origins. It is possible but it won't come from moaning about 'richer' white people or having an attitude of being owed something for suffering under Apartheid.

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-09-08 00:14

    Cosatu always walk away with making hefty wage gains,and usually are more than twice the rate of inflation. Whenever Cosatu puts forth its demands,it is the Government in the end that has to pay for the wage increases that Cosatu wants and in so doing has to freeze or stop the hiring of any new employees that has been looking for work. Cosatu's power and stubbornness is to blame for South Africa's high unemployment rates.The reason being that Cosatu have had such a stranglehold on Government that whenever it raises its voice,the rest of South Africa panics. Payroll currently has become one third of South Africa's entire budget. On average Cosatu are able to negotiate a 9% wage increase for its members according to a recent IMF report.Public sector wage increases over the past 18months had been 11% on average.Its unheard of in much of the world especially our hard economic times. This means that the Private Sector could not pass on any cost incurred by Cosatu onto the consumer,which in turn means South African products are made less competitive on the global market.The effects Cosatu has are being felt far and wide. The labour laws and the draconian way unions operate in the hiring and firing of workers in South Africa are terrible.A unionized worker knows that the regulation involved in firing him or her makes its essentially impossible for them to ever get fired.

      sean.bagley.50 - 2012-09-08 00:18

      continue... Companies in South Africa have become too afraid to "add" to their payrolls because of bringing on a employer that has a bad attitude and is a unionized worker whom they know they just can't fire. Cosatu's Unionized workers are the minority workforce in South Africa,but unfortunately they the ones with the jobs that pay decent wages which already makes them rich compared to other basic workers in the country. Cosatu is not benefiting the average worker in South Africa.They only making them pay the price for their demands. Unions were supposed to do the opposite of that which is fighting and battling for the average and poorest of the poor in the country. South Africa is now being used by the same union to become a "specialist group" i.e COSATU that is serving their own interest.

  • manie.feyer - 2012-09-08 01:54

    I read 495 Billion Rand disappeared since 1994, that translate to R9900 that each of our 50 million population were deprived of, thus a family of 12, minus 1 that had to sustain them, still is 12 x R9900 = R118,800. They should toi-toi at the right place to get it as back-pay. Toi-toi is exact same as a tantrum by a kid, same style only they are older and lazier when pulling their tantrum on their feet, check it out! Black Diamonds have already established economic equality if the Whites are just 9% of the population, thus 50million devided by 100, times 9 = 4,500,000 Blacks worked themselves into the middle and upper class the Whites was in as before 1994 on a 30mill population. Simple fact remain, work opportunities for the 91% rest of the whole population will not change for decades to come. Even Government can not create more jobs as what are needed to fill our local market and export market demands. Only the more the takers, result the more the makers. Work competitive. Beware don't destroy the goose laying your golden eggs. Hear ye, as a Whiteman I have for my whole 62 years life, not received a single cent from any of governments or anybody for free, I had to work hard to eat. All the way, only people that worked for the state got money from the State, by tax taken from my income I worked very hard for. Carefully consider who you vote for, for all they seek is your X for them to ride the aeroplane, while you keep riding the pick and shovel.

      Steven Trollip - 2012-09-08 05:12

      well said LOL

      denise.ryan.5203 - 2012-09-08 10:39

      manie.feyer - SA Government corrupted officials have cost South Africa R675 billion since the end of apartheid in 1994. Thanks to the ANC government at least R30 Billion is lost to corruption each year. Sadly we live under an incompetent government with unscrupulous politicians who squander taxpayers money with impunity, stealing from the poor, in the name of uplifting the poor. The looting of the treasury is sabotaging development, costing jobs and eroding the economy. The finances of 5 provinces in South Africa are in severe disarray and are unable to pay service providers and public sector employees. If the provinces were commercial enterprises they would have been declared insolvent and liquidated to settle their debts. Obviously somebody has to pay for the cost of all this theft. You and I, and all other customers, have to share the burden of the Billions of Rands stolen by employees or embezzled by civil servants. In addition, we have to pay for the increased insurance premiums, the additional security personnel and equipment necessitated by this stealing spree. It all gets added to the price tag of everything we buy. Of course, we also pay for the cost of crime through our taxes, and when supporting the police force, the legal and judicial system, and the prison service, which are all meant to protect us from the criminal elements of society.

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-09-08 04:43

    Each and every Cosatu member is an elitist. They all have a job. 40% of the nation doesn't. They all have at least the minimum wage, which is easily a liveable sum if spent wisely. Unemployed people don't. And union leaders earn a king's ransom -- easily equivalent to an executive wage. Vavi takes home half a million, and NUM leader Dlamini well over a million each year. They have no clue about what poverty is unless they see it on their 52 inch plasma TV screens

  • juannepierre - 2012-09-08 05:59

    If everyone had a job then that whole family wouldn't survive on one mans salary, they each have the capability of earning for themselves. Equality is about everyone, not one MAN being in charge of an entire family, this is how inequality breeds. A woman should not need a man to look after her, she can do it on her own, something I fear my traditional fellow south Africans lack the foresight in seeing.

  • Phelamanga - 2012-09-08 06:00

    That 79.4% of the population, account for 41.2% of the household income is an indication that the NDR policies and the unions that support them have failed. It's not that the whites are to blame for this. They were advantaged by a system that ceased to exist 20 years ago. West Germany and Japan were rebuilt in half that time and took their people from being at the bottom to being at the top within 20 years. The difference is that they pursued economically viable policies. COSATU and its puppet, the ANC, have struggled to impose an ideology which historically deprived more people so that the party elites could live in style. An open, free market aimed at building a strong middle class, entrepreneurship and enterprise is the only answer to economic freedom. Living on grants and handouts entrenches economic slavery and paternalism. One must be careful when using statistics randomly. Whites don't receive that percentage, they earn it through hard work, taking risks and making decisions that affect their futures, as do many black people, who know this. Change the word to earn and there's a different picture. Educate for the future, plan forward and don't look back. Unfortunately, COSATU can only look in one direction, and that is back. Marxism died with Marx, the rest is all theory.

  • paul.duplessis - 2012-09-08 06:39

    What did you expect. Without the race card COSATU looks rather bland....

  • markus.fourie.98 - 2012-09-08 06:46 bloody mampara. You are a RACIST of the worst kind. It is because of uneducated people like you that this country is in the state it is. All you know is violence, to break things down. When are you Black Africans going to realise that to have a successful country you actually have to contribute by "building" not breaking down? I have reported your hate speech and hope that you are taken to task for inciting violence as you did.

      nick.tarr.39 - 2012-09-08 09:11

      Lol you think these are reported to the police or something?! Just gets reported to some poor drone working for news24 who decides whether the comment is bad enough to be deleted...

  • karl.vanrooyen - 2012-09-08 06:49

    If de klerk says that xmas is on the 25 Of December ' cosatu will even reject that . Its just their way .

  • markus.fourie.98 - 2012-09-08 06:50

    Mmangaliso, another mampara. Qualify your statement, don't just reject peoples views without a counter argument. Be a man and say WHY you reject his views.

  • Vince.York - 2012-09-08 06:58

    These 'unions' have built such HIGH & RICH WALLS around themselves that they no longer can see the workers or their plights except when they lie dead in the ground and leave a trail of piggy trotter prints in the mud. Unions ARE A POLITICAL AGENDA and the president cannot issue an autocratic decree telling the nation to distance themselves from the very core element of politics. Unions are meant to take fees every month in order to PAY OUT to their members when and if ever a strike is called for under the most dire circumstances and negotiations have failed, BUT UNIONS have turned strikes and negotiations into an annual fun fair without proper meaning or consensus, and certainly without any leaning towards the realities of the day they are surrounded by. A RETHINK into the interference by unions is what is needed at this time, and the real discipline of malicious and wayward little fat politicians is long overdue, as they try to drive a wedge of racist ethno-cleansing into the national psyche

  • mkhindana.peter - 2012-09-08 06:59

    Now this is going to cause even more racism.Now whites probably think that blacks despise them.

      matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-09-08 11:57

      Most of know that it's only a minority of blacks that despise us. The same goes for whites, it's only a minority that despise blacks. Unfortunately the rate at which these minorities comment is indirectly proportional to the thought that goes into their comments.

  • donnmakaveli - 2012-09-08 07:03

    Lately unions have gotten a bad rap because the capitalist media has promoted the myth of overcompensated union leaders by highlighting, over and over, the most outrageous examples which do not represent the norm. Studies demonstrate that this myth is not true. Yes unions aint perfect, some better than others, and many in need of some reform. The few bad apples does not mean we need to do away with unions especially in these times of outsourcing and labor brokering--where politicians are bought off by wealthy individuals and corporations who do not represent working class interests--we need to revive the power of unions and the working class it represents.\r\n#injure2oneinjure2all#

      matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-09-08 12:21

      While the unions are gaining power the unemployed are becoming less empowered. The aggressive protection of their members is stunting the economy. But it's okay 'cause Asia also has a wealth of resources to supply the world, and at cheaper labour costs. Guess who the world will choose to buy its metals from?

      dewaldmontgomery - 2012-09-08 20:52

      You do know that SARS records the taxes these 'mythical overcompensated union leaders' pay? Start right there, before you blame the 'capitalist media'. (Just by the way, you do know that if it weren't for 'capitalist media' propaganda, the world wouldn't have felt sorry for you before 1994? Media like the NYT which carried your sob stories, e.g. ANC members killing IFP supporters, necklacing them and beheading their children prior to 1994, which in turned was sold as the evil whites' fault?)

  • Vince.York - 2012-09-08 07:05

    the Craven cur needs to understand that the inequalities will continue to increase exponentially as they breed a more unproductive less educated population based on quantity supported by social grants from the common tax payers funds which have run dry. IT IS THAT "DEPRAVED & CRAVEN LIFESTYLE" often referred to as heathen, THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE. Understanding the EASY basics of financial control soon has a good effect in changing a lifestyle chappies because big daddy government surrounded by piglet unions will never do it or look after you. Stop learning to speak a new official babylon language each meeting, and START TO TALK THE SAME LANGUAGE

  • whoowhoohoo - 2012-09-08 07:09

    Cosatu should begin to accept that the whites pay 80 % of all taxes and services while the blacks sit on their arses all day and fornicate all night waiting for the bonanza pay-out promised by Mandela and his merry band of idiots during their so-called fight for freedom.

  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-09-08 07:33

    You are off your head. De Klerk's statement was entirely correct but you choose not to understand as you are driving a socialist agenda, this while your alliance partners, and you yourself no doubt, are using capitalism to enrich themselves. Please explain to the rest if us, the ones paying the taxes, how long you think this can last. I for one would find it fascinating.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-09-08 07:46

    Unions are now obsolete, they have served their purpose and now only serve their fat cat directors. Ban all unions now!!!

  • kevin.moxham.3 - 2012-09-08 07:49

    COSATU stop generalizing everything on race - focus on building a non racial country - focus on why your members for example SADTU are not performing - thier incompetence and non-performance will ensure our youth of all races live a life of poverty and crime. Focus on education, FOCUS on service delivery, FOCUS on removing incompetenance, FOCUS on removing corruption.....COSATU FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.....!!

  • clivegoss - 2012-09-08 07:57

    Patrick did you say (twelve) ie 12 ? ? ? Patrick time to reduce the "masses" through programms that uplifts and educates economics which includes family7 planning and health issues

  • graham.horn.505 - 2012-09-08 08:19

    If indeed whites receive 45.3% of the national income, then they pay the most tax by far. They certainly don't receive 45.3% of the benefit of the taxes - nowhere near. I shouldn't actually waste my time trying to apply logic to what Craven says because he makes no sense ever. Read Animal Farm for free at

  • lizette.versteegh - 2012-09-08 08:56

    Gee. What a surprize! By the way Cosatu, the white and male capitalist class u r referring to, changed into a black capitalist class, long ago, whilst u were busy 'toy-toying'. It is made up of your ANC chommies in parlaiment, who have forced their fingers into every pie in SA. Just look at the lifestyle they lead, while 80% of black people in SA are dying of hunger. Your management, is part of this clan. They don't care 1 iota about 'the working class'. They only care about lining their own pockets. If u're 2 stupid 2 see this, then u probably deserve to suffer.....

  • dnxumalo2 - 2012-09-08 09:00

    Vavi I agree with Mr De Klerk on the divide that we have always ignored between the black employed versus the unemployed.While you are right about CEOs getting hefty salaries, I think that private companies are still leading when it comes to employing people on permanent basis in this country and it scares me to imagine Nationalisation of any company having seen people struggle to run a five office munipality.Even though Mr De KLerk forgets to bring up the fact that we have black people who run companies that enslave their workers instead of giving them the brotherhood prerogative of ubuntu when it comes to payments.

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-09-08 09:05

    I don't understand this rubbish. You and your tri-partheid government promised the people jobs. Now you guys pin it on the whites. Billions gone missing and all that you can come up with is this stupid excuses. Why don't you just come out and say you can't keep your long fingers out of the cookie jar.

  • johnny.dube.14 - 2012-09-08 09:15

    Patrick Craven is in his comfort zone because he has nestled himself on the inside of the "victim-circle" while he himself is living a life of luxury. What a hypocrite! How many times more does HE earn than his puppet brigade? Unions exploit workers because unions set unreasonable demands and then deploy the workers to go and defend those demands. The workers get shot and victimized and a wedge is driven between the employee & employer. Workers and bosses don't have healthy working relationships because of unions. Unions throw their weight and opinions around because they know the sheep are too desperate and uneducated to see that they are being used to fight for increases - so that UNIONS can profit more! It's their job and they are very good at it! Unions stand in the way of civilized progress because they promote violence instead of dialogue and compromise! a lot of people are unhappy with their salaries and they wish they earned more but life is not that easy/simple so they realize they have to be patient and work harder so that the company they work for can prosper and hopefully they can get a better next annual increase. All these politicians and union bigmouths must take a chill pill and start doing their job instead of just blasting the media with excuses all day.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-08 09:18

    Casatu once again trying to play politicians, instead of doing the job of representing their members. Like the ANC they have become liars, lying to their members, lying to the public. While union leaders take care of the fat cat backsides milking off the poor, conspiring over decades to ensure members wage increases remain below inflation rate so that their political buddies can score better profit returns. Now that they are being exposed, they will claim that there is an 'attack or conspiracy' against them to weaken the Union. The fact is workers have begun to realize that they have been duped, by Casatu and their thug leaders. No matter, time draws closer for Craven and his like to be sorted out.

  • apansari2325 - 2012-09-08 09:32

    Unions should be banned from politics and doing business..

  • grant.chancellormaddison - 2012-09-08 09:38

    One day the race card will not be able to be played !

      khathutshelo.muafrica - 2012-09-08 12:40

      Only wen european africans(bully foreigners) are all gone but that seems 2 b imposible

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-09-08 09:42

    If only these people would only listen and weigh up the pros and cons just maybe they would'nt find themselves in precarious situations. But power went straight to their heads and they became blinded and unconcious to the ways of the world. They made their own little world and are too scared to even look out of the window. There is a storm brewing, and that little world is going to be hit like a tsumami, A true and good man always listens to all sides of the story before he makes decisions wisely on the other hand a man who chooses to be both deaf and dumb will go down in history for all the wrong reasons.

  • bernard.ingram - 2012-09-08 17:17

    The reason they have to support up to 12 family members is because they breed like flies. The reason the whites are contributing so much to the economy is because the want SA to succeed. Unlike COSATU, who is all for division.

  • manie.feyer - 2012-09-09 00:16

    Note, 675 Billion Rand divided between 50 Million citizens calculates to R13,500 each, meaning Patrick Craven imply a family of 12 was done in by no less than R162,000 by their "African" comrades. If as also implied by this Craven that only Black persons are "Africans", then he should shut his mouth and knot his tongue, or rather do the right thing to tell all their Union Members the truth that every cent they paid/deducted as Membership fees belong in whole to the Members, which should be in a Member Trust Fund, to be invested for and on behalf of the Members only. The Union I belonged to since 1969 @ just R5p/m deduction, back-paid me R60,000 last year, managing our money very well and responsible, this was after my Union was disbanded early 2000 to make way for a new Black Diamond managed Union. For real, Africans should go find what are in fact due to then from the Comrades and Black Diamonds whom stole monies due to them. Hurry because soon the Whites, whom are as per Craven's statement not Africans, while my feet was here on the ground before most "Africans", with whom I live in a perfect harmounious manner. Government is similar to a Business, a Business will soon drive itself into destruction if bad management and blatant fraud are allowed, ending in everybody losing out. Go for it, destroy all, for 40 million "Africans" to be the biggest losers. Break R.S.A. till there are no more money to support the " Africans" depending on the State and grants to live.

  • Jopseph Khambule - 2013-05-21 17:58

    Mr De Klerk we did not expect you to neglect the poor when you left the office but to run the alleviation projects in the areas where people can easily access them, rather taking the back seat and judge. Please people needs your expertise on the lowest level. Where are you now?

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