Zim union threatens protest action as economy bleeds

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President Robert Mugabe. (AP)
President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

Harare – As trade union federation Cosatu rolls out protest action against President Jacob Zuma, the biggest labour union in Zimbabwe has given notice to President Robert Mugabe's government and demanded that the central bank governor be relieved of his duties for failing the economy.

Cosatu’s strike action against Zuma and state capture is supported by the South African Chamber of Mines, which joined Business Unity South Africa and Business Leadership South Africa in support of the trade union federation’s stand against state capture and corruption.

“The future of South Africa and its people continues to be jeopardised by the effects of state capture and corruption,” said the Chamber of Mines on Wednesday.

In Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said failure by the government to address economic issues and replace the central bank chief will result in protest action against Mugabe and his government.

The ZCTU is already consulting its membership and other trade federations on possible action to take against the government.

“The ZCTU commits itself to continue in actions that increase pressure on (those) holding state power to embrace people-centred developmental democratic processes.

“The ZCTU is consulting its affiliates, other trade unions and federations as well as social movements on the nature and form of action to be taken should the government fail to heed our call,” its president Peter Mutasa said on Tuesday.

The labour grouping has become the latest constituency to voice its fears and concerns over worsening economic conditions in Zimbabwe, where long queues have started to emerge in shops and at fuelling stations.

Banks have also run out of money while rates on parallel currency markets have spiralled, with some traders and businesses now rejecting bank cards and mobile money for transaction settlements, preferring payment in hard cash.

The ZCTU has demanded that the government of Mugabe “pave way for a transitional authority” to boost confidence in the economy ahead of elections next year.

It is also wants Mugabe to replace Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya with a "competitive non-partisan individual who can bring sanity" to the monetary and financial sectors.

The central bank introduced bond notes and bond coins to address crippling currency shortages in the economy. However, banks have run out of the notes which are now found on the streets on parallel markets, where they are trading at a high premium to the US dollar and rand.

“It is our view that the Reserve Bank is responsible for fuelling the black market as no ordinary citizen would access such huge amounts of money when the banks have withdrawal limits,” added Mutasa.

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