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Cosatu kicks off protest action in NC

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Cosatu started with rolling mass action this week to highlight the poor working conditions of workers in the Northern Cape, which includes concerns over a shortage of staff, working hours and contract workers that need to be appointed permanently.

Cosatu provincial chairperson Jacques Cupido, provincial secretary Orapeleng Moraladi and deputy provincial chairperson Senzo Mpalala. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo

COSATU started with rolling mass action this week to highlight the poor working conditions of workers in the Northern Cape, which includes concerns over a shortage of staff, working hours and contract workers that need to be appointed permanently.

Lunch-time pickets were held this week and will continue from Monday, while a march will proceed to the Premier’s Office on July 29.

Cosatu provincial secretary Orapeleng Moraladi added that the federation would also stage sit-ins at shopping malls and on farms.

“We won’t even give them seven days in which to respond. Many of the issues are not new, yet nothing has improved. Our programme will continue until October 7,” said Moraladi.

He added that he believed that President Cyril Ramaphosa must step aside if he is found guilty in a court of law.

“We cannot keep quiet just because he is the president. The law must take its course with regard to the Phala Phala game farm and if he is found guilty, he must follow the example of other leaders and step aside. Leaders should also be held accountable – corruption is corruption.”

Cosatu provincial chairperson Jacques Cupido meanwhile did not wish to pronounce whether they supported Ramaphosa to serve a second term.

“The congress will discuss the leadership question during the policy conference in September.”

He disagreed with the view of Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan that Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) Andre de Ruyter and chief operations officer (COO) Jan Oberholzer were doing a “sterling job”.

“Since 2012, when load shedding started, the Minister of Public Enterprises and the CEO of Eskom were always held accountable. We have not interrogated the minister but if De Ruyter and Oberhholzer were indeed doing a “fine job” we were not supposed to see these current rolling blackouts. There is a justified public outcry over the frustrating blackouts – something must be done. It is not for us to manage his performance or for us to make a call for him to step down.

“Gordhan is a deployee of the ANC and they should talk to him and look into ways of strengthening capacity.

“Many deployees of the ANC who occupy senior positions are not held accountable.”

Cupido believed that workers were unfairly blamed for the unprecedented load shedding.

“Workers are back at work and yet the country is still plunged in darkness. It cannot be due to the fault of the workers.”

He added that Cosatu was against the unbundling of Eskom.

“We resist any attempt to outsource this entity to the private sector. State-owned enterprises still have a developmental role to play in the economy.

“Cosatu made proposals to Nedlac to strengthen Eskom but it has not been implemented yet.”

Cosatu deputy provincial chairperson Senzo Mpalala pointed out that lines were blurred when deployees were appointed into high positions.

“Where mayors are chairpersons and the president of the country is president of the ANC, it makes it difficult for people to distinguish between the party and the state. Comrades who are elected to lead the party should execute their duties without guaranteed access to state resources. We have noted a sense of arrogance where ANC deployees are not held accountable – these are the officials who are irritating and frustrating our members.”

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