‘Government not serious about economy’

Government is not serious about addressing the country’s economic crisis and its actions clearly demonstrate this.

This is according secretary-general of the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) Dennis George, who spoke to City Press on the sidelines of the trade union’s leadership strategic indaba in Johannesburg this week.

He lambasted government for downplaying the country’s economic woes.

George said the trade union was convinced government was not taking the recession earnestly.

“We have economic problems. We also have political problems and a lack of political creditability on the side of President Jacob Zuma.

"These political problems have to be addressed first because you will not be able to move forward convincingly,” he said.

George said there was no state-owned company in the country that was not captured.

READ: SA economy to slow down even more - World Bank data

“All of them are captured,” George said.

He said the country was faced with a situation that, if and when Zuma was removed through the upcoming vote of no confidence on August 8, the governing party would still fill the vacancy with one of their own, if Baleka Mbete as the Speaker of Parliament did not ascend to the seat.

“The ANC is still the majority party, so they can nominate a caretaker president,” he said, adding that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was also compromised because of his role in the Marikana massacre in 2012.

George said a faction within the governing party was also using BEE to loot and are now hanging on to the concept of white monopoly capital to loot more money.

Fedusa had earlier issued a statement lambasting government for failing to attend a task team meeting last week without offering the courtesy of a notice to the other social partners who were attending.

George said the no-show was another clear indication that government was not willing to prioritise the current state of the economy.

However, National Economic Development and Labour Council executive director Madoda Vilakazi said:

“The director-general and his National Treasury team were supposed to attend the meeting. Unfortunately, they had other emergency matters to attend to and, as a result, couldn’t attend the meeting.

READ: 8 things in the SA economy that must change

"They apologised sincerely to the other constituencies for this; of course, the other parties were disappointed as this was the first meeting of this important task team.”

During the Fedusa indaba, economist Iraj Abedian of Pan-African Investment and Research said there was a general trend of structural and moral failures among leaders throughout the world and that resulted in increased uncertainty among investors and low confidence among consumers, business and investors.

Abedian said to protect the biggest losers of the credit rating downgrades – which are the poor, youth and the working class – pension funds needed to be legally and constitutionally protected.

“Business and labour must work together to find solutions from now on,” he said.

He further pointed out that the country had millions of people who, despite being employed, were still poor.

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