Workers are worst affected by corruption, says Cosatu amid calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to act
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Johannesburg - Cosatu and its affiliate unions in Gauteng have joined thousands of other members in the country to call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intensify the fight against corruption and to stop job losses and retrenchments in the workplaces in all sectors.
Gauteng Cosatu, despite attracting less than 500 people to their protest action – which began at the office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Thursday – were adamant that they had borne the brunt of corruption through lost wages in State-Owned Entities; lost wages in municipalities and the assassination of whistle-blowers; wage freezes in the State; freezing of critical public service vacancies in front line departments; the deterioration and collapse of key public services; and austerity budgets cuts that public services and the economy depend on.
The labour federation also said that the situation had been worsened by the retrenchment of part-time commissioners at the CCMA, alleging that the cutbacks had severely affected the hearing of labour dispute matters.
The labour union called on the government to address the blockages to investment, fixing broken SOEs, a freeze on retrenching workers, a commitment to creating new jobs, saying promoting decent work is fundamental if it was to grow the economy.
In their memorandum, the labour federation said: “Cosatu has raised these critical matters with employers, the banking sector and organised business, the SOEs and government.
“The federation has tabled these issues and concrete proposals on how to address them at collective bargaining councils, in the workplace, Nedlac, Parliament, with the government and the ANC and Tripartite Alliance, publicly and in the media.
“The government and business have not moved with speed to resolve these ticking time bombs.”
He said Cosatu and its affiliates were therefore demanding the following key interventions by the government and the private sector:
• The government, SOEs, municipalities and employers in the private sector must respect collective bargaining, signed agreements and all labour rights, including the payments of salaries.
• All employers, public and private, must address the wage gap, in particular the
gender wage gap.
• All employers must tackle sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.
Cosatu and its unions were also unanimous in their call for the intensification of the fight against corruption. They asked the government for:
• The ban on politically exposed persons from doing business with the State must be strengthened and extended to include national, provincial and regional leaders of political parties elected to lead the government and their spouses and children.
• The government must allocate further resources to the South African Revenue Service to tackle tax and customs evasion and fraud.
• Life-style audits must be made mandatory for members of the Cabinet, Provincial Executive Councils and mayoral committees, as well as the senior management and supply chain officials of departments, entities, SOEs and municipalities.
• A single, transparent online public procurement system must be established for the entire State, eg departments, entities, SOEs and municipalities. This must be provided for in the Public Procurement Bill and tabled at Nedlac by the beginning of 2022.
• Additional resources must be allocated to commercial crimes courts to tackle corruption cases.
• Additional resources must be allocated to the National Prosecuting Authority and the police to ensure that they have sufficient capacity to tackle corruption.
• The NPA and government must utilise the powers provided to them under the Auditing Amendment Act to hold offending politicians and officials personally liable for corruption.
• The NPA and the government must use the powers provided to them under the Criminal Matters Amendment Act of 2015 to tackle widespread copper cable theft and impose a ban on all copper exports whose legal origin cannot be traced.
The government was given 14 working days to respond to the demands.